A necropsy performed on a washed up humpback whale near Ucluelet has revealed a broken jaw.
Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada performed the necropsy on the roughly 11.8-metre male carcass on Friday, according to DFO Marine Mammal Coordinator Paul Cottrell.
“Unfortunately the lower right jaw was dislocated, which indicates some sort of significant trauma,” Cottrell told the Westerly News. “Human interaction could be the cause of that type of impact, it could be a vessel for example, but that’s something we don’t know at this point and we’re working with the samples we’ve taken and the pictures and all the details and hopefully we’ll be able to clarify things.”
He added the animal is believed to have been dead for “well over a week” before being discovered and information might be hard to obtain as it was already in a state of decomposition.
He said DFO hopes to leave the carcass where it is as it is not in a heavily used area and could be a key food source for local wildlife.
“If it’s isolated and not going to be a human danger, we’ll leave it where it is for other animals…All the marine critters there benefit from a huge animal dying like that, which is sad, but at least when it’s going back to nature it can help the food web that’s in that area,” he said.
“It really is a buffet for them.”