The last of six killer whales trapped by thick ice in Russian waters has reportedly died.
The ITAR-Tass news agency said the animal had been exhausted and wounded in a desperate effort to break free.
The whales were spotted over the weekend by children from Iturup, an island at the tip of Russia’s far eastern territories. The whales became trapped in the shallow waters of a bay in the Sea of Okhotsk when strong winds blew in large ice floes.
Dozens of volunteers from a nearby village had worked for several days to widen air-holes in the ice, using power saws to break up ice in a bid to keep the whales alive. The animals refused all food, however, and bled from their heads and fins from trying to break through the ice.
More than a mile of thick ice had separated the marine mammals from the open sea.
Iturup is an island in the disputed Kuril chain that lies off the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.