Humpback whale found dead near BC Ferries terminal likely struck by ship: DFO
A humpback whale found dead near a BC Ferries terminal earlier this month was likely struck by a ship, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
The female humpback was found near the Tsawwasssen Causeway on Nov. 16.
A Coast Guard hovercraft towed it to a base on Sea Island to undergo a necropsy after local First nations prayed and performed a ceremony.
The necropsy showed the whale's injuries were consistent with "catastrophic ship strike with propeller injuries," the DFO said in a news release Wednesday.
The agency says it's conducting further investigation into the animal's death.
Once a threatened species in B.C. coastal waters, humpbacks have made a remarkable comeback in recent years.
But experts have said their increased numbers have also opened the ocean giants up to new risk factors.
"They are vulnerable to being struck by boats and ships," marine biologist Anna Hall told CTV News earlier this month. "We don't really know why they are more vulnerable than some other species, other than they do tend to spend some time near the surface."
The DFO said it has also narrowed down the cause of death of a transient killer whale calf found near Gold River, B.C., on Nov. 14.
A necropsy was also performed on the calf, which was found to have been born alive but died between three and five days later.
"The examination indicates that the cause of death was a result of one of the following: maternal separation (separated from mother), maternal loss (mother died), neglect, or failure to thrive," the DFO said.
They say further analysis of blood and tissue samples will help them pinpoint the cause of death in two to three weeks.