A united purpose: Save a porpoise
Source: Sandra McCulloch, Times Colonist
Desiree Holmes didn't know what to think when children from the Songhees First Nation ran up to her and said a whale was on the rocks of Esquimalt Harbour.
Holmes, a youth worker with the Esquimalt First Nation, followed the kids to the shore Tuesday afternoon and saw it wasn't a whale, but a scraped and bloodied harbour porpoise thrusting itself onto the rocks.
"It was laying on its side, pushing itself up on the shore," Holmes said. "We didn't touch it too much, but one of the kids kept pushing it back into the water and putting water on it."
A mother and daughter who were in a canoe paddled over to look and used the boat to keep it secure. A half-dozen people from the Songhees Nation helped.
Holmes phoned the marine-mammal rescue hotline and spent two hours passing on information about the porpoise's condition. She also sent photos of its wounds to a Vancouver Aquarium veterinarian.
Holmes and some Songhees youths stayed with the porpoise for six hours and decided to name him Theodore.
"It was an amazing experience, it was like something you don't even realize it's happening until it's over," Holmes said. "I just helped save a porpoise's life - the veterinarian said it's remarkable it even stayed alive that long."
Russ Nicks loaded the porpoise into his rigid-hull inflatable boat, answering a call for help. Nicks runs Sooke Coastal Explorations, a whale-watching business, and is a member of the Sooke branch of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue. "We're out there and watching these animals, so it seems right to go out and at least try to help one," Nicks said.
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