Dead Humpback Whale Found Afloat Near Point Carolus
July 02, 2016
With a 44-year sighting history, Festus was the longest-sighted humpback whale recorded in Southeast Alaska.
Charter vessel operator Paul Johnson on the M/V Yakobi reported the whale to park staff around 10:20 AM on June 26th. After notifying the National Marine Fisheries Service, park staff towed the whale to shore on Sunday afternoon and are making preparations for a necropsy examination by veterinarians on Tuesday.
A preliminary examination of the carcass by park biologists indicates that it is an adult male, approximately 40 feet in length. More information on the cause of death and the condition of the whale are expected to be available later this week, after the veterinary examination.
Fluke identification photos indicate that this was whale #441, nicknamed "Festus," who was first documented in 1972 in Lynn Canal by researcher Charles Jurasz. Festus was last sighted in June 2015 in Glacier Bay.
With a 44-year sighting history, Festus was the longest-sighted humpback whale recorded in Southeast Alaska. Glacier Bay biologists work collaboratively with other Alaska and Hawaii researchers to maintain life history records of individual humpback whales.
Superintendent Hooge said "We would like to hear from anyone who was in the area in the past several days and may have observed anything unusual so that we can better understand causes of humpback whale mortality."
Anyone with pertinent information who may have seen a sick or injured whale in the area recently is requested to contact the Park at 907-697-2230.
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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