On August 24, hundreds of tourists and volunteers rejoiced on a beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The sea creature they tried to save could finally return home.
A number of people were brought to tears by this overwhelming event.
The rescued animal was a baby humpback whale.
The nine-ton creature — approximately 32 ft in length — was beached for more than 24 hours.
Several local residents made the initial report a day before the rescue; they were extremely shocked to see the whale groaning and started to dig the sand around it. Volunteers, sea life experts, and even tourists joined in the effort. While rescuers furiously kept on digging, some people collected water and poured it on the whale’s body to prevent it from dehydrating.
More than 300 voluntary rescuers gathered on the beach to help the stranded baby whale. It wasn’t possible to push or pull the exhausted whale to the sea, as this could’ve injured the whale’s internal organs if they pressed its body too hard. For any chance of survival, the whale had to move back toward the sea of its own will.
But thanks to the rescuers’ tireless efforts, the whale started to slowly inch its way back toward the water. After many hours, it used its last reserves of strength to return to the sea.
Some rescuers spotted the whale raising one of its fins as it swam away. They took it as the whale trying to express its gratitude to the helpers.
The number of cases of beached whales dying is a lot more than many think. Beached whales die because of the dehydration and pressure of their own weight. Thanks to the work of good samaritans though, this baby whale was given another chance at life! Let’s hope the calf finds its way back to its family.