Whale deaths are piling up in B.C. as four new deaths have been reported this week and scientists are baffled over the cause. Alaska has reported similar whale deaths in the past month. This has scientists trying to connect the four whale deaths in B.C. to those that have occurred in Alaska.
Marine mammal specialists from Canada have been on the road trying to determine the cause of death of two humpback whales found in Klemtu and Haida Gwaii as they prepare to do the same for two other whale bodies that have been seen floating in Hecate Strait and off the coast of Vancouver Island. The deaths have been perplexing as Alaska has reported 21 humpback and fin whales dead in the last month. This has marine officials very concerned.
It will take at least two weeks to obtain results from the Canadian whale deaths. Once results are received, scientists and officials from Canada are going to have discussions with the U.S. to determine if there is a possible link to the deaths. The samples should also determine the cause of death and whether there is a pathogen responsible.
The whale found in Klemtu was a female whale and was tracked down by a group of First Nations guardians. The initial reports were that the whale died from being tangled in fishing gear because of marks and scars on its tail. However, marine experts say that may not be the case and that results are needed before conclusions are drawn.
The whale population has made recent strides in Canada. However, disturbing occurrences such as this will set the clock back in a hurry if a cause and solution is not found. Hopefully, test results will reveal the cause and a plan of action can be implemented immediately.