Subject: Sperm whale:Life-saving mission for Moby (fwd)

Michael Williamson (
Sun, 23 Mar 1997 18:13:47 -0500 (EST)

J. Michael Williamson
   Principal Investigator-WhaleNet <>
   Associate Professor-Science
   Wheelock College, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA 02215
voice: 617.734.5200, ext. 256
fax:    617.734.8666, or 617.566.7369

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 23 Mar 97 04:29:00 GMT 
Subject: Life-saving mission for Moby

Life-saving mission for Moby

  By Jackie Brown, PA News
   A major sea-borne rescue mission was under way today to rescue a 40ft sperm
whale trapped in inshore waters - by the noise of traffic.
   Eight boats, including a tug usually used for pulling oil tankers, have
a horseshoe formation to coax the giant mammal nicknamed Moby down the River
Forth and towards the open sea.
   The whale has already spent two nights in the Forth and there are fears that
it could beach and die.
   Today's operation was mounted after wildlife experts suggested it had been
frightened by the noise of traffic from the Forth rail and road bridges.
   Hundreds of spectators armed with binoculars turned out to watch the very
site of a sperm whale in the busy estuary.
   The rescue was due to get under way about 12.30pm, but was delayed when the
giant mammal got behind three tugs that had been lent by oil giants BP.
   Two of the tugs later had to be pulled out to go back to work. One remained
along with seven smaller boats to get the operation going and force Moby down
   The theory was that the giant beast would be frightened by the noise from
boats and would be pushed forward under the bridges.
   The operation has been co-ordinated by Deep Sea World aquarium, situated at
North Queensferry on the banks of the Forth, who took expert advice about the
   They are trying to reunite Moby with three more sperm whales have been
off the Fife coast at Burntisland. Wildlife experts think they may be
of the stranded whale waiting for it to rejoin them.
   They are believed to have ended up in the Forth after taking a wrong turning
on their way south to the Azores from their Arctic feeding grounds.
   A spokesman for Deep Sea World said at 5pm that the boats had managed to
the whale to move about a mile downstream.
   But it has still not passed under the two bridges.
 Several boats tried four times on Friday to force the whale under the bridges,
without success.
   Charles Bickett, general manager of Deep Sea World, said tonight: "It is
anyone's guess whether it will be successful this time. Yesterday it got down
below the (road) bridge and four times it would not go under."
   But he said they were "hopeful" they would succeed today.
   Staff on the Forth Road Bridge have agreed to slow traffic to 30mph when the
whale gets closer, to cut down the noise. Maintenance work at the bridge was
suspended for the same reason.
   Hundreds of spectators braved the cold to watch the operation along the
of the river - with many following progress through bulletins on local radio.
   It was a family occasion, with many parents bringing out their children for
the day.
   Maureen Wooton, 41, from Glenrothes, watched with her husband and three
children aged between seven and 15 at a vantage point at Limekilns in Fife.
   "As a family we are fascinated by whales and dolphins," she said. "We are
very concerned about it and wish it well."