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The 11 killer whales that were trapped in ice in Quebec's Hudson Bay have been freed after a passage of water to the sea was created.
MONTREAL — The 11 killer whales that were trapped in ice in Quebec's Hudson Bay have been freed, the mayor of a nearby village said Thursday.
NBC News reported that two scouts from the nearby Inuit village of Inukjuak, on the eastern shore of the Hudson Bay, went to check on the killer whales at around 8 a.m. Thursday. They found that a path of water had been created to the open sea (nearly 25 miles away) and that the whales were gone from their small ice hole.
“They are free," mayor Petah Inukpuk told NBC. "They are no longer here. When there is a new moon, the water current is activated. It could have helped … completely trap them but in this case it caused an open passage out to the open water. It was mother nature that helped them.”
There were initial concerns that the hole would freeze over and trap the animals, and the Inukjuak community was planning to send a team to manually widen the hole to give the whales more room to surface, the Globe and Mail reported.
Killer whales usually only visit Hudson Bay in the summer to feast on seals and other marine life, but climate change has disrupted the region's sea ice movement and formations as well as the whale's regular seasonal patterns, CTV News reported.
More from GlobalPost: Quebec killer whales trapped in ice to be helped by team of experts (VIDEO)