This morning there were reports that a beached whale had been found on East Beach in White Rock (Grey or Humpback). Vancouver Aquarium rescue staff are on their way to the scene.
News 1130 passed on the confirmation at 7:05am: “Fisheries and Oceans confirms a beached humpback whale about 8 to 10 metres long and in poor condition has washed up on White Rock Beach.”
CKNW posted at 7:10am: “#Breaking: #DFO confirm fishing gear caught mouth of beached humpback whale. #RCMP cut it but there are indications the whale has passed.” They will have Aquarium staff on air at 7:40am to talk about the situation and other morning news channels are providing helicopter footage.
The tide is still on its way out. According to Tide Times, it will be at its lowest at 8:17am and high again at 2:27pm.
Crowds are growing along the mud flats where the whale is stuck but it’s still uncertain what the public can do to help — especially if the whale lost its struggle. Hopefully that’s not the case but perhaps we can find out what to do or how to act if something like this happens in the future.
Update 7:45am: More reports are confirming that the whale did not make it. CTV’s Brent Shearer posted a very close-up photo of the mammal with the caption: “Beached #whale in white rock. A tangle of fishing gear lies nearby.”
Update 7:50am: “It’s certainly dead and has been for a few hours,” says Dr. Martin Haulena from the Vancouver Aquarium who is on the scene. He’s speaking to Global BC‘s morning news team.
“This whale hasn’t eaten for quite some time so those ropes have been on there for weeks to months at least.” The Vancouver Aquarium is curious about where the gear (nets, lines, ropes) was originally stuck on the whale since it appears to have been removed this morning. They’re hoping some early photos were captured so that they can put a bit of this puzzle together and learn more about what happened to this humpback.
Update 1:20pm: The Vancouver Aquarium has posted an update on their blog.
Humpback whales are making a comeback in their numbers along the West Coast of British Columbia. Although still considered an at-risk species due to the over-hunting that ended in the 1960s, the population is now doing better.
A humpback whale sighting had been reported to Vancouver Aquarium’s B.C. Cetaceans Sighting Network from the Tsawwassen ferry last week. Staff will now try to identify the whale that was spotted to see if it is the same whale that washed up this morning. DNA samples were taken from the animal by the Aquarium for further testing.
The Vancouver Aquarium says you can report your sighting to 1-866-I-SAW-ONE, www.wildwhales.org or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you see a stranded animal, please call the Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at 604-258-SEAL (7325) for immediate assistance.
There have been a few whale sightings around our shores in recent history, the most publicized was when a Grey Whale swam into False Creek in 2010.