A herd of whales, trapped by ice off Springdale in Labrador, northern Canada, are thought to be ill, and marine biologists are making a special study of them.
GV: Whales at surface of water.
SV & GV: Spectators look at whales. (3 SHOTS)
GV: Beach, ZOOM INTO whales. (2 SHOTS)
GV: People on ice.
SV: Man talking into tape recorder.
SV: Interview with expedition member.
GV: Whales surfacing.
SV: Recording sequence and whales underwater. (3 SHOTS)
GV PAN: Whales spouting. (3 SHOTS)
GRAY: "The good news is that four or five whales trapped off Springdale are alive and well... three forty-foot humpbacks and a young narwhal. One humpback is missing and it's presumed dead. They're confined to a single patch of water about six or seven miles from the ocean which in turn is covered with northern pack-ice. There's not way out until the ice goes. Presuming they remain okay - some scientists say they will, others are optimistic - they are a once in a lifetime outdoor classroom. Live whales in their natural environment but unable to leave. Experts from both Canada and the United States have been coming and going to Springdale and there's been a lot of acoustical study."
BIOLOGIST: "They've been making really a lot of sounds and we've been recording them now for a couple of weeks, and I think we probably have something like fifteen different sounds they're making."
GRAY: "Can you establish patterns that distinguish what they are doing?"
BIOLOGIST: "That's why this situation has really been ideal. We can individually identify each whale and we can watch them very closely until we get a context of the sounds they're making and by having that information then we can figure out a bit of what they are saying."
GRAY: "No-one knows how long the ice will stay in the bay and how much food is available to the hump-backs. No-one knows how the stress of the enforced confinement will affect them. But there are no whales for the killing here."
REPORTER: PADDY GRAY
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Background: A herd of whales, trapped by ice off Springdale in Labrador, northern Canada, are thought to be ill, and marine biologists are making a special study of them. The whales were shown the way to freedom by an icebreaker, but rejected the call. Scientists think the whales could be suffering from an ear infection which affects their sense of direction. This report is from Paddy Gray of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.