Dead humpback near Ucluelet likely hit by large vessel

Dead humpback near Ucluelet likely hit by large vessel

A juvenile male humpback whale with broken jaw bone washed up on shore near Ucluelet. Dean Stoltz has more. 

The humpback whale is high above the tide line after washing up on shore just over a week ago during a king tide.

“Well when it first came up here it was pretty big, it was kind of sad to see,” said Curtis Fendelet, owner of Mussel Beach Campground where the whale washed up.

“It has been an attraction,” he added. “There has been a lot of people out here looking at it, standing on it and what not but it’s not really the attraction we want.”

Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists were at the site over the Friday. They say the male whale is 11.2 metres long and about four-years-old.

They found it’s lower jaw bone dislocated and say it had been hit by something with significant force.

“Yeah they figured was a vessel strike, the bone is dislocated, And sticking out,” added Fendelet. “They took some blubber samples and stool samples from the humpback and took an eyeball to see if it was stressed before it died.”

“When I hear it’s a vessel straight I’m not too surprised because the number of humpbacks are increasing in B.C.” said Wendy Szaniszlo, a local marine mammal biologist.

“If that’s what happened then it sounds like it was probably a ship versus a smaller vessel and ship strakes further offshore have been known to kill larger whales,” she added.

The whale is taller than a full-grown person standing beside it and there a lot of blubber but so far it hasn’t attracted any wild animals like wolves and bears.

There is no plan to remove the whale.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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