Conservation Team Returns Beached Humpback Whale to Ocean off Southern Africa

A group of conservationists pushed a beached humpback whale back into the sea off Namibia on Monday, June 14, capturing the dramatic ordeal on camera.

Footage shared by Naude Dreyer chronicled the repatriation of a stranded whale about 50 km (31 miles) south of Walvis Bay, a coastal city in Namibia.

“Whale rescues barely ever have a happy ending – too often, the cause of the stranding is unknown, there is too much damage to the animal’s organs, the tides aren’t helping with the rescue, or the animal keeps on re-beaching itself,” Dreyer wrote on YouTube. “This one was different.”

Dreyer, with the help of local tour operators and colleagues with the Namibian Dolphin Project, spent hours pushing the large animal back into the ocean.

“After more than four hours, we were rewarded with the most beautiful sight possible: the whale started thrashing its tail, and a few minutes later, it swam off into the deep ocean,” the video caption reads. “So far, we have not seen him again, which is a very good sign, and we are hopeful and positive.”

Dreyer said he has experienced 10 large whale rescues, but this was the first that ended successfully, he said. In the footage, cheers can be heard from the rescuers as the whale eventually disappears into the briny deep. Credit: Naude Dreyer via Storyful

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