These images show locals pouring water on a pod of five beached Beluga whales including a calf to keep them alive so they could be refloated out to sea in Russia’s far-eastern Kamchatka region.
The footage shows the visibly distressed pod of beached Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), which live in the Arctic and subarctic areas of the globe, making grunting sounds.
Two men can be seen pouring water on one of them, which can be seen lying on a sandbank next to three larger individuals and a calf.
A second piece of footage shows one of the men pouring water on the calf.
Local media reported that the whales were washed ashore during a strong ebb at the mouth of the Tigil River.
The locals, reportedly fishermen, arrived by boat after it was observed that the whales were unable to leave the sandbank after becoming stranded on it.
They poured water on them and fed them fish, and at high tide, the five whales were reportedly able to return to the Sea of Okhotsk.
The Minister of Natural Resources of the region, Alexei Kumarkov, told local media: “Four fishermen – they should be called by name: Andrey Korolev, Vladimir Kochelaevsky, Sergey Umkev and Ashot Ustyan – poured water on the animals for several hours until the tide began and they could not move aground.”
The beaching of a single, live whale is usually the result of sickness or injury.
But bad weather, old age, navigation errors, and hunting too close to shore, as well as human activity, also contribute to beachings.