People at Point Holmes caught a last glimpse of T073B before it left the area Thursday afternoon. Photo courtesy DFO

EDITORIAL: Whale relocation a success story to be celebrated

The Biggs (transient) whale that made the Comox Harbour its home for the past couple of weeks has been led away from the masses.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) conducted an innovative exercise, using underwater audio playback of whale sounds, to draw T073B away from the harbour and back to the more spacial, and presumably safer, surroundings of the Salish Sea at large.

READ: Innovative technique used to lure T073B back into the sea

And that should be a good thing.

One would think.

But within minutes of the article hitting the internet, social media judges were lashing out. Cries of cruelty, for tricking the animal into thinking it was following a pod were posted.

Ironically, when a bear is put down by conservation officers, many of those same people cry foul, saying relocation should have been attempted. That’s all this was: a relocation effort.

As for the trickery used, we’ve yet to hear anyone complain about the baiting process used to get a bear into a live trap in order to relocate it. Utter trickery, that is: hanging food, perhaps a bag full of honey (looking like a bee’s nest) in what amounts to an oversized garbage can with a gate that will automatically close behind the bear once it enters.

Others accused the DFO of being in cahoots with the Town of Comox, conducting this exercise for the sake of saving a fireworks display. Really.

We applaud the DFO for this exercise. Those who conducted it did so for the well-being of an animal, with nothing else on their minds.

It amazes us that people could turn this positive into a negative.

While the time T073B spent in the Comox Harbour was a thrill for residents, tourists and wildlife enthusiasts alike, the longer it stayed in the area, the more danger it posed to itself, if not others.

We have history to prove that statement.

Luna was a killer whale that spent years in the Nootka Sound, and specifically around the dock at Gold River… until she was killed by the blades of a tugboat.

Fast forward a dozen years, and a similar situation was unfolding in Comox.

Bravo to all involved in this relocation exercise. Hopefully if T073B ever returns to the area, it’s merely in passing.

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