Home Canada Several humpback whales found dead on B.C.’s coast in a matter of weeks

Several humpback whales found dead on B.C.’s coast in a matter of weeks

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Several humpback whales were found dead in just a few weeks BC, at least two of which could be attributed to humans.

The Fisheries and Ocean Service has identified at least 4 and possibly 5 humpback whales dead on or off the coast of BC between October 12th and November 21st.

Paul Cottrell, Marine Mammal Coordinator for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said at least two of the animals had signs of “blunt trauma” and could have been hit by a boat or other large object.

Cottrell said more research would be needed to confirm these findings and determine whether the whales were attacked before or after they died, but said “there was no significant impact”. ”.

He said it will take several weeks, possibly longer, for the final results of the autopsy to be announced.

Jackie Hildering, director of education at the Association for Marine Education and Research, said it was unusual for researchers to have access to humpback carcasses because they usually fall to the bottom of the ocean.

She said learning about the causes of death in these cases provides valuable insight and learning opportunities about how to protect animals.

Humpback whales were considered “endangered” BC until 2014, when efforts to restore numbers were successful.of special concernAlthough their numbers are recovering, they are still not stable and are under the federal Endangered Species Act.

series of deaths

The first dead humpback whales were spotted floating in the water near Prince Rupert on British Columbia’s North Coast on October 12 and October 15. However, although researchers were unable to secure the body for an autopsy, they believe it may have been found decomposing on a beach in Haida Gwaii on November 21.

second found North side of Malcolm Island near Port McNeill in southwestern BC October 23rd. A young woman known to researchers as Spike showed signs of blunt force trauma.

The corpse of a young female humpback whale named Spike was found north of Malcolm Island in October. (Jared Towers/Marine Education Society)

A dead male was subsequently found near the Musset community in Haida Gwaii on 5 November, and another male was found on 14 November at Nai Koon Provincial Park in Haida Gwaii.

Hildering said researchers were able to compare the markings on the third and fourth whales to photos of the first whale and determine that they weren’t the same animal.

Meanwhile, another humpback whale was spotted tangled in fishing gear in Quatino Sound near Vancouver Island. That whale survived.

human risk

Hildering said maritime traffic poses a danger to humpback whales.

She also said that most whales sink, so it can be difficult to know when they die in a collision.

“How many whales are dead at the bottom of the ocean? We don’t know,” she said.

A humpback whale off the island of Wales, north of Prince Rupert, was the first of four dead off the coast of BC since mid-October. (Lean Alex)

Part of her organization’s mission is to teach sailors how to avoid collisions Most people in British Columbia are unaware that they have a legal responsibility to report a collision or entanglement with a whale to the DFO Incident Reporting Line (1-800-465-4336).

By sharing stories of recent deaths and allowing people to see the corpses, Hildunning said that as increased shipping and climate change threaten species, more members of the public will be able to see them. I hope that you will come to recognize the need to protect

“There’s more ship traffic. There’s more noise. There’s also a very solid opportunity for people to educate themselves.”

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