Preliminary results of whale necropsies on P.E.I. released
3 whales towed ashore and studied after 'unprecedented die-off' in Gulf of St. Lawrence
Preliminary results from the three right whale necropsies done in Norway, P.E.I., last week show evidence of blunt trauma in two whales and a "chronic entanglement" in another.
Six endangered North Atlantic right whales have died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence since early June, and more than 40 people from various organizations studied three of the carcasses on the shores of western P.E.I. from June 29 to July 1.
With only 525 whales left in the species, the "unprecedented die-off" represents over one per cent of the population, the Marine Animal Response Society said in a news release Monday.
According to the release, two of the whales towed ashore showed evidence of blunt trauma, while a third had a "chronic entanglement."
The release also said that other problems that "may have predisposed these animals to this trauma cannot be ruled out at this stage."
The preliminary report says that because the whales had been in the water for so long after they died, some evidence may have disappeared because of post-mortem decomposition.
It hasn't been decided whether the other three whales will be pulled ashore.
The necropsies were a joint effort between Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Marine Animal Response Society and the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative's Atlantic region, run out of the the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island.
A final report is expected in six to eight weeks.
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