A family was recently enjoying their vacation on the shores of the St. Lawrence River in Canada, when they suddenly saw a washed up baby Beluga whale on the riverbank. When they approached her, they noticed that the newborn still had her umbilical cord attached, meaning she was probably hours-old. Her mother was nowhere to be seen, so the family’s boys started hydrating the orphan until they waited for help to arrive.
“We dug a hole so that water would accumulate and its skin would hydrate,” 15-year-old Nicholas Milliard, who first found the calf with his younger brothers, told CBC News. “Every five minutes we got it a bucket of water. The water level was dropping, and it was becoming more and more difficult to get water.”
Later on the afternoon, researchers from the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM) arrived to help with the rescue mission. They brought the baby back to the water and introduced her to several pods of Beluga whales so she could find a lactating whale (if not her mother, whose destiny remains a mystery). The researchers had to leave her not knowing the outcome as it was already dark but they took her skin sample to be able to track her in the future if needed. Though the baby might have a hard time surviving, she definitely deserves a chance at life in her natural habitat after she’s been through so much.