British Columbia

Humpback whale likely killed by entanglement near Klemtu

A humpback whale that washed up dead on the North Coast of B.C. likely died because it was entangled by rope, according to those who have seen it.

Spirit Bear Adventures wildlife guide Philip Charles posted images of the dead whale on Facebook

The humpback whale washed up on the shoreline near Klemtu, on B.C.'s North Coast. (Philip Charles/Facebook)

A humpback whale that washed up dead on the North Coast of B.C. likely died because it was entangled by rope, according to those who have seen it.

Last Friday Spirit Bear Adventures wildlife guide Philip Charles got a call that a humpback whale was drifting close to the community of Klemtu.

He set off with a team from Pacific Wild Conservation to Nowish Bay where they found the massive animal washed up dead on the rocks.

"It was a sad sight to see such a magnificent animal washed up on the shoreline like that. Your attention is taken to the very large wounds on the back of the whale," he said on Tuesday morning.

The whale was about 12 metres long, according to Charles, who posted images of the dead whale on his Facebook page.

"It is exceptionally rare to see a dead humpback whale, especially in this relatively intact state," said Charles in his post.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has not yet confirmed the exact cause of the animal's death and a spokesperson told CBC News the results of the necropsy will take a few weeks, and until that is completed it's speculative to say the whale died from injuries related to entanglement.

But Charles says experts on site told him it's likely the whale became entangled in a net and injured its tail.

"We've heard reports from DFO that a necropsy has been performed and it looks like it was due to entanglement, like a rope had been caught around the tail of the whale, which has probably over time worn down and worn through the skin. It caused some very severe injuries there."

Regardless of the cause of the animal's death, Charles believes more could be done to prevent entanglements.

"It's difficult to see fishery openings here, knowing humpback whales are in the area. The openings happen for the salmon fisheries, so you get anything up to 77 vessels in the channels all spreading their large nets," he said.

"It also raises the question of why we don't have trained specialists in dealing with entanglement here ... If we get a report of a humpback whale that's entangled, we can send people right away."

Google Maps: Klemtu, B.C.


    

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