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Whale Rescue Ice Holes

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Whale Rescue Ice Holes

Picture by: Dave Withrow Picture taken on: February 1st, 1988

Tags: gray whale rescue operation breakthrough Alaska

One of the many refreezing air holes cut for the whales prior to the arrival of special water pumps that kept ice from freezing over. Note where whales have surfaced and broke through the ice. Experts continue to move sea ice out of the path for the two surviving gray whales during 1988’s Operation Breakthrough, where gray whales were rescued outside of Barrow, Alaska when sea ice trapped them from reaching open water. This event inspired a new film called "Big Miracle," which was released in February 2012. This photo was scanned from slides at the National Marine Mammal Lab in Seattle.

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