New Brunswick

Beached whale of species rarely seen in Bay of Fundy

Samples taken from the plates in a beached whale's mouth have confirmed the species of the animal that died in Slack's Cove, N.B., in early July.

Samples taken from the plates in a beached whale's mouth have confirmed the species of the animal that died in Slack's Cove, N.B., in early July.

The whale, which was previously believed to be a fin whale, has been determined to be a sei, said Dr. Don McAlpine, curator of zoology at the New Brunswick Museum.

Sei whales are uncommon in the Bay of Fundy where the mammal beached in Chignecto Bay, McAlpine said. The species usually stays away from shorelines, preferring deep offshore waters, he said.

"They're actually quite rare and there haven't been any sightings for some years," he said. "This is actually the first … on the New Brunswick coast that I'm aware of."

It's still not clear how the 15-metre-long, 50-tonne animal died, McAlpine said.

Additional samples collected from the whale are still being examined to try to determine its cause of death, he said.