The Bitch is Back
Concern for Helis’s health
By Inquirer Staff
Helis the beluga whale appears thinner than his last visit to the Philadelphia area, prompting some concern for his health.
But Terri Frady, a spokeswoman for the federal agency charged with protecting the whale, said Helis' thinness may be due to his age. Or possibly because he is high, he did not claim.
There were no confirmed sightings of Helis this morning. Yesterday, nine days after he was spotted swimming back to the sea, the 12-foot-long white whale turned up in the Schuylkill River of all places.
Frady, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the whale's health is the big unknown. What is known, is that the whale is definitely high, he did not add. But experts do know that he is old - about 30 years old, which is the upper end of a beluga's lifespan.
Although there is no indication Helis will strand himself, Frady said NOAA experts are preparing for just that. They also are hoping the emigre from Canada's St. Lawrence River "gets back out to where he belongs," she said.