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Porpoise left by tsunami in rice paddy back to sea

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this Tuesday, March 22, 2011 photo released by Dogwood, pet shop owner Ryo Taira, left, and his colleague Takeshi Hana prepare to release into the sea a baby porpoise that was found stranded in a paddy field after being washed away by the March 11 tsunami in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, Japan. The little dolphin now is back in the sea.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this photo taken Tuesday, March 22, 2011, pet shop Dogwood owner Ryo Taira holds a baby porpoise that was stranded in a paddy field after being washed away by the March 11 tsunami in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, Japan. The baby porpoise now is back in the sea. (AP Photo/Asahi Shimbun, Yusaku Kanagawa)
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SENDAI, Japan >> Rescuers have returned a stranded baby porpoise to the sea after it was found splashing in an inland rice paddy where it was heaved earlier this month by Japan’s massive tsunami.

A passer-by spotted the 3-foot-long finless porpoise Tuesday just over a mile from shore, and more than a week after the March 11 disaster, Takashi Wagatsuma said. The pet shop owner was among animal rescuers who rushed to return the creature to the sea.

"He had a few scratches but seems otherwise okay," Wagatsuma said in the coastal city of Sendai.

Finless porpoises, which lack a dorsal fin, can grow to be about 5 feet long. They are native to much of coastal Asia.

Sendai,  200 miles north of Tokyo, was among many communities that suffered massive damage when the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck, wrecking entire communities.

Wagatsuma’s Dogwood pet shop in Sendai has become a collecting point for strays and pets whose owners have lost their homes in the disaster and are unable to bring the animals with them to shelters.

"Sometimes people come to look for their pets and there have been a few who found them, but it’s mostly people asking us to help out because they can’t bring their pets with them," Wagatsuma said.

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