Reports confirm the juvenile humpback whale beached in White Rock died from starvation.

Beached whale starved

Fisheries officials confirm young humpback's cause-of-death

A young humpback whale that died after beaching itself on White Rock’s shores last month did indeed starve to death.

While starvation had previously been named as a contributing factor in the mammal’s demise – it was found entangled from mouth to tail fluke in fishing line – Pacific marine mammal co-ordinator, Paul Cottrell, confirmed Monday that other elements did not play a role.

“There were necropsy results which confirmed that the animal died from starvation,” Cottrell said by email.

The whale, a two- to three-year-old male, was found on White Rock’s East Beach around 5 a.m. June 12. It died shortly after.

Word of the incident drew hundreds of onlookers and several media outlets to the sandbar.

Veterinary pathologist Stephen Raverty told Peace Arch News later that month that the animal was “quite severely emaciated,” and that its wounds were consistent with those caused by rope. The line “would have interfered with the ability of the animal to normally use its baleen to feed,” Raverty said.

Drag caused by the gear may also have caused the whale physical pain, he said.

Monday, Cottrell described the line as “pelagic longline gear,” which likely originated from the U.S. or Asia.

“It is not Canadian,” he said.

The whale’s skeleton is to be rearticulated and displayed for education purposes at the whale interpretive centre in Telegraph Cove.




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