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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