Reggie The Brave Whale
This story was inspired, again inspired I should say by the news that the navy plans to test sonar off the cost of Hawaii and in the process deafen 1500 whales, at least 1500, and kill another 1500 including dolphins.
So many stories have been told in truth about dolphins saving the lives of humans. I can’t help but wonder when our friends in the ocean will say enough, let them drown.
Fact is they will not say that because their hearts are bigger than their brains and we as ” humans” often have little heart and big brains. A dangerous combination is that. A brain without a heart, this is the story of just one brave whales struggle to survive, and a few people with a heart that came to help…
It was a clear and beautiful morning in July 2005. The waters of the north Atlantic had warmed to a comfortable 68 degrees – - almost too warm for a North Atlantic Humpback, but pleasant. Regulus, named after the brightest star in the constellation Leo and nicknamed Reggie he was born in 1983. His mother’s name is Spoon. Reggie was out for a morning swim and dining happily on the plankton and small fish like herring or mackerel. Humpbacks are gulpers not skimmers. They will swim then gulp a mouthful of Plankton or fish and the average size Humpback will eat from 4,400 to 5, 500 pounds of plankton, krill and small fish each day.
So there was Reggie out swimming and gulping and flipper slapping and having a fine time for himself when all of a sudden as he dove toward the ocean bottom something went dreadfully wrong. He was caught on something strange. It held him tight and would not let go, the more he struggled the tighter it got it started ripping and tearing into his flesh. It hurt! What was it?Reggie had never felt anything like this and he was very frightened.
What had happened to Reggie was that he had become entangled in fishing gear. No one knows for sure just how long Reggie had been entangled before he was discovered on a July morning by a research team. But estimates range to as much as two months before he was discovered. The tight nylon line formed a loop around his belly and back and cutting into his right flipper. And Reggie was very thin. As the team attempted to approach Reggie he began to swim away steadily northward taking deep breaths and then diving and staying hidden as long as possible, trying to avoid those who were trying to help him. How was he to know? After all, he had already suffered enough pain at the hands of the land animals.Reggie was not seen for a very long time after that because with night, the research rescue team was forced to give up and Reggie struggled away, perhaps to die.
But on the morning of November 28, 2005, four months after he had been discovered entangled he was again sighted and the research team could confirm that he was gear free but in very poor condition with deep wounds across his back and in his flippers. He was with another Humpback Whale. Eventually Reggie recovered and once again can be seen with his unique style of flipper slapping. Most whales slap the water with their flippers, most likely to free the barnacles that cling to them. It also could be a method of communication. Reggie on the other hand, or should I say flipper, has decided that it is best to slap his side instead of the water, and thus is easy to recognize at a distance because of this unique style of flipper slapping. So once again, Reggie swims and gulps in the North Atlantic, happy to face each morning alive and playing with the seagulls and other Humpbacks. Reggie’s story has a successful conclusion; unfortunately, he is also unique in that way. Many entangled whales die a painful, lonely death. Fishermen need to fish and whales need to feed. They just need to keep a safe distance from each other and find methods to protect the whale while doing the work that brings them their survival. There are answers and we will care enough to find them.
Tags: death of whales, dolphins being killed the navy sonar, dolphins saving people, intangled whale, reggie the whale, sonar killing whales, whales