British Columbia

Young grey whale washes up on Ucluelet beach

"We want to investigate where we can and have a look especially if there is any evidence of ... human cause of death," says DFO scientist. "But we do have whales that do drop out of the population naturally."

Scientists working to determine cause of death

Scientists investigated the death of this young gray whale near Ucluelet in 2016. (Les Doiron)

Scientists are working to determine what killed a young grey whale that has washed up on a beach near Ucluelet.

"We want to investigate where we can and have a look especially if there is any evidence of anthropogenic or human cause of death, but we do have whales that do drop out of the population naturally," said Paul Cottrell, a marine mammals coordinator with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

An anthropogenic cause of death would mean the whale was killed by environmental pollution or pollutants from human activity.

The young grey whale was found on the beach in front of the Wya Point Resort and has attracted a lot of interest.

A gray whale washed up on Ucluelet Beach on Vancouver Island's west coast in 2016. The species is not yet considered endangered, but is listed as a species of special concern. (Les Doiron)

"Tourists are intrigued," said Les Doiron, with the Ucluelet First Nation. "Our nation and our people and our elders and such have gone down to the beach to take a look at it. It's not something that happens very often, thank God."

Cottrell says grey whales are listed as a species of special concern, but they are not considered endangered like the killer whale population.

With files from Wawmeesh Hamilton

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