Juvenile humpback whale likely suffered for months before dying on White Rock beach (with video)

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METRO VANCOUVER

Fisheries officers and police stand by a dead beached humpback whale as a man paddles by on White Rock Beach in White Rock, BC., June 12, 2012. The whale, which was discovered at about 4 a.m. had become entangled in a fishing net and died on the beach.

The steady return of humpback whales to local waters took a graphic twist Tuesday morning when a juvenile wrapped in line washed ashore and died just east of the White Rock pier.

Hundreds of onlookers swarmed the scene, experiencing a mixture of sadness and awe at the presence of such a large marine mammal at their feet.

Some brought flowers for the whale. Members of the Semiahmoo First Nation danced and drummed in its honour. Both RCMP and federal fisheries officers stood in soaking boots and pants to maintain crowd control in the sea water.

In classic west coast fashion, one man on a standup paddleboard cruised by for a closer look before authorities shooed him away.

While grey whales are known to wash ashore in Metro Vancouver from time to time, this is the first such event in recent memory involving a humpback whale and is further evidence of the species’ gradual return to local waters.

“We know they used to inhabit the Strait of Georgia 100 years ago,” said Lance Barrett-Lennard, a marine mammal specialist with the Vancouver Aquarium.

“We see it as a good sign they are using these waters again, but they’re still not an everyday sight.”

RCMP Sgt. Paul Vadik said police were first notified of the beached whale at 5:15 a.m. It was still breathing but died about an hour later.

The whale measured 8.5 metres from the head to the base of its fluke, or tail fin, and is thought to be about three years old.

The creature had become entangled with heavy nylon line in its mouth, baleen and fluke, and could have suffered for months before dying.

Read the rest Video & News Link:http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/Juvenile+humpback+whale+likely+suffered+months+before+dying+White+Rock+beach+with+video/6768858/story.html

 

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Gray Whale Dramatically Rescued After Dragging Dead Sea Animals In Netting For Miles

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It’s a shocking image (see video below): a California gray whale dragging 50 feet of netting filled with dead sea animals for nearly a week.The gray whale, dubbed “Bart,” was spotted Friday off the coast of Dana Point Harbor, Calif., tangled in a huge fishing net, NBC reports

The gray whale, dubbed “Bart,” was spotted Friday off the coast of Dana Point Harbor, Calif., tangled in a huge fishing net, NBC reports.

With permission from the National Marine Fisheries Services, Dave Anderson, who works with DolphinSafari.com, attached a buoy to the whale Friday evening to monitor it overnight as a rescue team was assembled.

Anderson said that the team found a “whole ecosystem” inside the netting, including a sea lion, a 5-foot leopard shark, two angel sharks and various spider crabs, fish and rays, according to theLos Angeles Times.

As they followed the whale out to sea, volunteers spent seven hours Saturday carefully cutting the nylon netting without hurting the mammal. With nighttime and a storm approaching, the rescue team was fighting against time.

“This whale was doing everything it could just to breathe,” Anderson told the Orange County Register. “But there was no way to feed itself.”

Suddently, a line snapped, and the buoys disappeared.

“Those buoys just went under the water all of a sudden,” Anderson told NBC. “And when they went under the water, I mean, it was like a scene from ‘Jaws.’”

 The whale was free, and volunteers were thrilled.

“All the staff was really emotional at the end of the rescue because usually the whale does not make it in this type of situation,” Dana Friedman, a local volunteer, told the Laguna Beach Independent. “It is hard for me to find the words to express how I feel right now.”

Anderson added to the Independent, “This was a snapshot into what is going on in the oceans all over the world. Unfortunately, thousands of marine animals die every day from similar circumstances.”

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