A group of 13 orcas was stuck between sheets of ice off the coast of Hokkaido, Japan.
“They seemed to have difficulty breathing,” said an employee of a local wildlife organization.
Local officials said another group of orcas had died when a similar incident took place in 2005.
Over a dozen orcas were stranded between ice sheets off the coast of Hokkaido, Japan.
A local wildlife organization, Wildlife Pro LLC, told Japanese broadcaster NHK on Tuesday that it spotted the orcas while they were conducting marine research in the area.
“At about 10 o’clock in the morning, we found about 13 killer whales with their heads sticking out of a hole in the ice,” Seiichiro Tsuchiya, a Wildlife Pro employee, told NHK.
“They seemed to have difficulty breathing. There were about three or four baby orcas. It looked like they weren’t feeling well,” Tsuchiya continued.
Tsuchiya managed to capture footage of the orcas using a drone. The school of orcas could be seen bobbing up and down in Tsuchiya’s video.
Local officials, however, said that they weren’t able to rescue the orcas because the coast was covered with drift ice, per NHK.
“We have no choice but to wait for the drift ice to break so that the orcas can escape,” said one official.
It is unclear what has become of the pod.
This isn’t the first time orcas have been trapped in ice sheets near Hokkaido. Local officials told NHK that a group of orcas died after a similar incident in 2005.
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