Scientists begin necropsy on north Atlantic right whale
Scientists won't know results of necropsy for months
A team of scientists began the necropsy Friday on the north Atlantic right whale found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence earlier this week.
The nine-year-old whale, named Wolverine, is the first right whale death reported in 2019 after no deaths were reported in Canadian waters last year.
Wolverine was towed to shore on Miscou Island, where more than 20 people from the scientific community sliced began to collect tissue samples and gather measurements to help determine the cause of death.
Scientists won't know the results of the necropsy until months from now, however.
Stéphanie Ratelle, a biologist for the Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said there are only 417 right whales left in the world.
"There's a lot of work going on from the government to industry to research to the academics … everyone is working very hard to protect these animals, so this is incredibly disheartening," Ratelle said.
"Any mortality is detrimental to the population."
Scientists have said it's unlikely the whale died of natural causes. Wolverine was found belly up in a pool of blood off Quebec's Gaspé coast during an aerial surveillance flight on Tuesday.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Marine Animal Response Society and researchers from the University of Prince Edward Island and the University of Montreal are working together to perform the necropsy.
With files from Gabrielle Fahmy and Alix Villeneuve