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Deceased whale was not a juvenile humpback, NOAA says


August 03, 2010

(SitNews) - Marine mammal scientists from NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service took measurements Thursday and collected preliminary tissue samples from the carcass of a deceased whale discovered last Wednesday on the bow of a Juneau-bound cruise ship.

Initial observations indicated the whale was likely a juvenile humpback. NOAA's Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator, Aleria Jensen, confirmed the whale was a humpback, but an adult rather than a juvenile.

jpg Deceased whale was not a juvenile humpback, NOAA says

The carcass of a deceased whale is removed from the bow of a Juneau-bound cruise ship.
Photo courtesy NOAA

"The whale was larger than we originally thought," said Jensen. "It measured 43 feet long, indicating a fully grown female." An adult female humpback generally measures between 35 and 45 feet in length.

Thursday's operations focused on external observations and initial assessment. A team of about a dozen biologists and stranding network volunteers led by veterinarians from NOAA Fisheries and the Alaska Sea Life Center plan to focus on internal evidence Friday when they planned to perform a necropsy to learn more about how the whale died.

The crew from Princess Cruises' Sapphire Princess reported to the U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA Wednesday morning that a whale was lodged on the ship's bulbous bow. The whale apparently became attached overnight.

The Sapphire Princess, enroute from Ketchikan, was delayed from its expected arrival in Juneau Wednesday by about two hours so that the whale could be removed from the ship's bow and towed to a location suitable for a necropsy.

NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement officers have interviewed the captain and some officers of the cruise ship, and are in the process of gathering and reviewing evidence.

Mariners are requested to report any sightings of marine mammals in distress to the NOAA
Fisheries Marine Mammal Hotline at (877) 925-7773.

NOAA Fisheries would like to remind the public that humpback whales are protected by both the
Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Tampering
with or removing parts from the carcass is prohibited, and personal possession of any parts
from a listed animal is a violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).




Necropsy to be performed on deceased whale discovered on bow of cruise ship - Wednesday morning at about 8 a.m., Princess Cruises' Sapphire Princess discovered a whale on top of the ship's bulbous bow, the part of the bow that goes through the water. The Sapphire Princess, enroute from Ketchikan to Juneau, was south of Juneau near Tracy Arm at the time the whale was discovered.- More...
Friday - July 30, 2010



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NOAA Fisheries in Alaska,


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