Nova Scotia

No necropsy will be done on dead blue whale in Cape Breton

Officials will likely never know how a young blue whale that washed ashore in Cape Breton died. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has decided against doing a necropsy on the animal.

Officials cite towing distance, poor weather and decomposition for the decision

This blue whale, nearly 17 metres in length, was found along Cape Breton's coast on Sept. 18. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

Officials will likely never know how a young blue whale that washed ashore last week in Cape Breton died.

The whale, measuring nearly 17 metres in length, was spotted on a remote stretch of shoreline north of Port Hood on Sept. 18.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada said the location, which cannot be reached by vehicle, was too remote to perform a necropsy.

They had hoped to tow the carcass to a more accessible location, where veterinarians from the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island could examine the whale and determine a cause of death.

But the department said Wednesday it has dropped plans to move the whale.

In a release, officials said given poor sea conditions and the weather forecast, as well as the decomposed state of the whale, towing the animal more than 80 kilometres for a necropsy is not feasible.


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