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NOAA Necropsy Team Finds Indications of Trauma in Death of Male Humpback


June 13, 2018
Wednesday PM

(SitNews) - Preliminary results from the necropsy of a male humpback on Admiralty Island in Southeast Alaska found signs of hemorrhage, bruising, and a fractured skull - indications of trauma likely caused by a vessel strike.

“Confirmation of cause of death is pending lab results, which won’t be available for at least six months,” said Kate Savage, the lead veterinarian for the necropsy.

jpg NOAA Necropsy Team Finds Indications of Trauma in Death of Male Humpback

NOAA Fisheries biologist, Alicia Bishop, during humpback whale necropsy in southeast Alaska.
Photo courtesy NOAA

Savage and her team of 9 - including a bear guard - were greeted by numerous bald eagles feeding on the whale carcass, but no bears, when they arrived at a beach at Point Young on Admiralty Island early Saturday morning. After a brief squall, the team got to work taking measurements and collecting tissues from the subadult humpback. They collected multiple samples which will be used to determine the cause of the death as well as an ear plug which will be used to age the animal.

Analysis of photos taken of the whale since it was first reported Sunday, May 27 put the timeframe of death within a week before that first report.

jpg NOAA Fisheries team performs necropsy on humpback.

NOAA Fisheries team performs necropsy on humpback.
Photo courtesy NO

She also thanked the public for their help. Savage thanked Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Alaska Seaplanes for assistance in re-sighting and confirming the location of the whale carcass so a necropsy could be performed, as well as Alaska Sea-to-Shore for providing boat transportation to Point Young for the necropsy team.

“The quicker we get reports on marine mammal strandings, the more information we can get when we perform a necropsy, so we certainly appreciate timely reports from the public in a case like this,” she added.

If you see a whale or other marine mammal in distress, call the NOAA Fisheries Alaska 24-hour Stranding Hotline at (877) 925-7773.



Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews



Source of News:

NOAA Fisheries - Alaska Regional Office



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