Kirsten Robinson - Photo                                NECROPSY REVEALS INJURY: An 11.8-metre-long male humpback whale carcass was recently discovered on Muscle Beach and a necropsy performed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada on Friday revealed the animal had a broken jaw that may have been caused by an interaction with a vessel. DFO plans to leave the whale where it is so it can contribute to the local food-web. Read about it on page 3.

Kirsten Robinson - Photo NECROPSY REVEALS INJURY: An 11.8-metre-long male humpback whale carcass was recently discovered on Muscle Beach and a necropsy performed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada on Friday revealed the animal had a broken jaw that may have been caused by an interaction with a vessel. DFO plans to leave the whale where it is so it can contribute to the local food-web. Read about it on page 3.

Humpback whale washes up near Ucluelet

A necropsy performed on the large mammal revealed it had a broken jaw, which indicates significant trauma.

The carcass of a humpback whale has washed up on shore at Twin Rivers beach near Ucluelet, on Vancouver Island.

Local marine mammal researcher Wendy Szaniszlo told the Westerly News on Sunday the area the whale washed up is around La Perouse Bank, where humpbacks are abundant and added that she particpated in a DFO survey in August where “well over 100” humpbacks were spotted.

“The humpback population is a growing population. There’s a lot of them,” she said. “They were listed as threatened and now their numbers are coming back. So, from a recovery perspective, that’s definitely a good news story…There’s definitely enough food for them, at least in this area and the fact that they’re not being hunted anymore goes a long way as well to help their recovery.”

Photos of the carcass were being shared on the Salmon Beach Village Facebook page Sunday afternoon and Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada researchers recently conducted a necropsy that revealed the mammal had a broken jaw.

“Unfortunately the lower right jaw was dislocated, which indicates some sort of significant trauma,” said DFO Marine Mammal Coordinator Paul Cottrell. “Human interaction could be the cause of that type of impact, it could be a vessel for example, but that’s something we don’t know at this point and we’re working with the samples we’ve taken and the pictures and all the details and hopefully we’ll be able to clarify things.”

The roughly 12-metre long whale is believed to have been dead for “well over a week” before being discovered, information might be hard to obtain as it was already in a state of decomposition.

Cottrell says the DFO hopes to leave the carcass where it is as it is not in a heavily used area and could be a key food source for local wildlife.

“If it’s isolated and not going to be a human danger, we’ll leave it where it is for other animals…All the marine critters there benefit from a huge animal dying like that, which is sad, but at least when it’s going back to nature it can help the food web that’s in that area,” he said.

One of the biggest threats to West Coast humpbacks is the possibility of being struck by boaters, adds Szaniszlo.

“That’s definitely a safety concern for the whale, but also people in smaller, fast boats as well. That’s the biggest concern so, if you see a blow, go slow,” she says.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bus routes for CMSD82 students in Cablecar and Kitamaat Village have been temporarily changed for Jan. 21 and 22. (Black Press file photo)
Temporary school bus route changes for Cablecar, Kitamaat Village

The two routes will be combined for Jan. 21 and 22 due to a bus driver shortage

Haisla Bridge traffic will be impacted overnights from Jan. 20 to 23 due to District work. (Clare Rayment/Kitimat Northern Sentinel)
Haisla Bridge traffic impacted due to District work

The bridge will be single lane traffic overnights from Jan. 20 to 23

Administering naloxone to a person experiencing a benzo-related overdose event won’t help. Naloxone is used to neutralize opioids. (Jenna Hauck/The Progress file photo)
Northern Health warning drug users of potential benzo contamination

The drug does not respond to naloxone, and is being included in street drugs

Black Press file photo
Fraud scam, car in ditch among weekly Kitimat RCMP report

Kitimat RCMP report from Dec. 18 to 24

(Mountainview Lodge photo)
Santa and Mrs. Claus payed a special visit to the residents at Mountainview Lodge in Kitimat back in December to help raise their spirits during the difficult Christmas season.
Good News, Kitimat!

Bringing some local good news to your week

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

Most Read