Wed, Sep 01, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Humpback whale trapped behind Canadian dam


A humpback whale trapped for more than a week behind a Nova Scotia power dam is proving to have a bit of a stubborn streak, refusing repeated attempts Monday to lure him back to the Atlantic Ocean.

The young whale, nicknamed Sluice, wasn't fooled when a team of whale rescuers used the recorded sounds of feeding humpbacks to coax the 16.5 tonne animal through the sluice gates that separate the Annapolis River from the Bay of Fundy.

"I guess somebody forgot to tell the whale that it was supposed to hang around and actually go through the sluice gates," said Jerry Conway, marine mammal coordinator with Canada's Fisheries Department.

Using a small patrol boat equipped with a waterproof speaker, the rescue team broadcast whale songs that sound something like trombones being played in a vat of soup.

After following the sound for about 4km, Sluice swam to within 35m of the Annapolis Royal Tidal Generating Station before turning tail Monday afternoon.

"We're living in anticipation," said Conway, who vowed to give the plan another shot.

Sluice may not recognize the recordings because they are of Pacific Ocean humpbacks. But the tactic has worked before.

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