In renewed rescue efforts by the community, the blue whale that was stranded in the Mannavaram swamp off Siruthalaikadu in Vedaranyam was set free into the deep sea, here on Sunday.

This was after the day-long efforts to drift the whale away from the swamp and into the open waters stood foiled, as the whale retreated deeper into the swamp on Saturday night.

The four-tonne, 25-feet long blue whale was initially found stranded at about dawn on Saturday in the Mannavaram swamp a few kilometres south west off Kodiakarai coast.

The stranded whale was rescued manually from the swamp only to be let off into the open waters in the channel that branched off the lagoon.

However, the mammal, bereft of any injuries, had later drifted deeper into the swamp in the night, rendering futile the day-long rescue operation staged by the forest department.

However, just after dawn on Sunday, rescue operations were renewed —this time on the initiative of the community. In order to ensure that the whale did not retreat to the swamp, the mammal was hauled out slowly with ropes, drifted off the lagoon and led up to a depth of seven feet into the sea.

“The whale had moved about 800 meters further into the swamp and we had to ensure that the mammal was hauled out slowly with the use of ropes, in order to pull it farther into the sea,” said P.V.R. Vivek, a wild life photographer, who initiated the renewed efforts mobilising fishermen to the swamp.

The efforts paid off after the mammal swam back farther away from the brackish lagoon and into the deep sea. “We stood assured until we waited and watched the whale swim back into the sea for over a few hundred meters,” says Mr. Vivek.

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