If the underwater siren songs don’t work, rescue coordinators plan to leave the whales alone this weekend to see whether some downtime helps. Photographs showed that the two were wounded during their travels, probably by a ship’s propeller, making it especially important to treat them with care, Gulland said. The whales briefly seemed to get the right idea by themselves Friday morning, when they headed 200 yards into the deep water channel leading to the Sacramento River, which eventually empties into the San Francisco Bay. But then they turned around. If there’s no progress by Tuesday, rescuers plan to start a herding operation, which would require at least 50 boats and include tactics such as banging pipes underwater, a sound whales don’t like. “We hope that the next few days will show some progress but … we really are in uncharted ground,” Gulland said. On Friday, onlookers oohed and aahed – and clicked their cell-phone cameras – as the whales occasionally broke the surface in a sibilant whoosh, their smooth gray bodies rippling through the placid waters. WEST SACRAMENTO – The tale of two whales stranded in the California Delta has captured hearts and headlines in Northern California as efforts continued Friday to lure the injured mammals back to their salty home 90 miles west. Along the dusty banks of the Port of Sacramento, hundreds kept tabs on the cetacean invasion while for the second day marine scientists aboard small boats played recorded sounds that included other humpback whales feeding. But the wayward pair, a mother and her calf, showed no signs of cutting short their trip to the capital, and scientists said they won’t try to rush them, for now. “We really do not want to stress the mother and her calf in any way,” said Frances Gulland of the Sausalito-based Marine Mammal Center, which is helping in the rescue operation. The scene was reminiscent of the publicity that attended Humphrey, a humpback whale that wandered into the Delta – although not as far inland as these whales – by way of San Francisco Bay more than 20 years ago. Biology professor Douglas Long is not at all surprised by the hubbub over the whales. “What I think is people look at marine mammals as sort of being the human counterpart in the ocean – they’re warm-blooded; they’re intelligent; they’re social, all the qualities we like to think of as having,” said Long, who teaches at St. Mary’s College in the east San Francisco Bay suburb of Moraga. Scientifically, whales are important indicators of ocean health, Gulland said. “They are sentinels of change,” she said. The Humphrey saga spun out over years, starting with a more than three-week-long effort in 1985 to nudge the 40-foot humpback back out to sea. Humphrey was a slippery fellow, though, swimming several times toward the Golden Gate only to elude watchers and head back east. Even after he finally made it back to the Pacific Ocean, Humphrey was spotted near the Farallon Islands off San Francisco during the next two years and in 1990 he wandered back into San Francisco Bay, spending three days there – including one day stuck on mud flats – before swimming back out to sea forever. In 1988, whales were big news again with world attention focused on three gray whales trapped under the ice of the coast of Alaska. One of the whales died, but the other two appeared to swim free after a huge rescue effort that included assistance from a Cold War foe, with two Soviet icebreakers helping clear a path to open water. The Sacramento whales probably were on their annual trip up the California coast to cooler waters up north when they got lost. Their situation is complicated by the mother-child relationship since the mother probably is focused on the welfare of the calf, believed to be suckling, Gulland said. The whales have inspired several newspaper naming contests – none seems to have stuck yet – and continue to draw new fans. Jeanetta Deutsch, who was visiting Sacramento from Great Bend, Kan., was among those thrilling to the sight of the breaching whales Friday. “They’re just awesome. They’re majestic,” she said. A few yards away, Ruben Guerrero, who lives in the Sacramento area, held up a sign reading “George Costanza We Need You,” a reference to a “Seinfeld” episode in which the hapless George saves a beached whale. Guerrero, of Sacramento, said he’d always wanted to go whale-watching on the ocean and “here they come to me.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
BNP men attack prison van, snatch away two activists. Photo: Saiful IslamA total of 200 people have been arrested in three cases filed with Shahbagh and Ramna police stations in connection with the ‘attack on the police’ and snatching of two people from prison van in front of the High Court, reports UNB.Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner Md Asaduzzaman Mia on Sunday revealed the number of arrestees while briefing newsmen after inspecting the overall security of the on-going Ekushey book fair premises in the capital.Earlier on 31 January, police filed two cases against 700-800 people in connection with snatching of two BNP activists from a prison van on 30 January.Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and its standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy were also sued in the cases.The DMP chief also said police will be in a strict position to protect people’s security and maintain order in the capital.He said all out preparations have been taken to maintain the law and order in the capital on 8 February, day scheduled for pronunciation of verdict in a graft case filed against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.DMP Commissioner added that all the DMP units including Detective Branch and Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit have been working in coordination.The DMP commissioner alleged that attacking on the police and snatching two people away from the prison van were arranged to create an unstable situation in the country. Those who have been found involved in the incident must be brought under the laws, he said.About the aftermath of 8 February verdict, he said, nothing will happen.No anarchy will be allowed centering the verdict.