Whale carcass washes up on popular Nova Scotia beach
Minke whale found at end of Queensland Beach
The carcass of a dead minke whale with a missing tail has washed up on a popular Nova Scotia beach west of Halifax.
It's not clear what killed the roughly seven-metre adult whale or whether its injuries came before or after it died, according to Andrew Reid with the Halifax-based Marine Animal Response Society.
He said his group was notified Wednesday about the carcass, which is lodged on rocks at the south end of Queensland Beach near Hubbards.
Minke whales are "fairly common" in Maritime waters, he said, and the population is in a much better state than the endangered North Atlantic right whale, which has been the subject of intense conservation efforts.
Queensland Beach attracts large crowds during the summer months. The weather is forecast to be sunny for much of this weekend, and beachgoers may have to contend with a smelly scene.
"Definitely advise people to not get too close," Reid said Thursday morning. "There'll be bacteria and organisms starting to break down that carcass. I would definitely advise people to keep their distance."
In Nova Scotia, he said, disposal of whale carcasses is often left to whoever has jurisdiction over the piece of land. Queensland Beach is part of a provincial park.
A spokesperson for Nova Scotia's Department of Lands and Forestry said staff will hire an excavator and truck to move the whale to a site on Crown land where it will be buried in the next couple of days.
The Marine Animal Response Society typically examines a dead whale to determine what killed it, but that likely won't happen in this case as the group is stretched thin dealing with a dead right whale spotted drifting off Quebec's Gaspé coast.
Reid said he hopes to co-ordinate with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to at least document on a basic level the minke whale found at Queensland.
"We do get whales coming ashore that might have disease or parasite load, but we also have ones that are caused by human activity," Reid said. "So we really always want to get a close examination and look at it very closely to determine which one of those it is."