Another grey whale has turned up dead on the shores of Haida Gwaii, the eighth to be discovered in B.C. this year.
The discovery adds to the mounting total of grey whales dying along North America’s Pacific Coast; according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), at least 171 of the mammals had been recorded dead as of June 27.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) said the whale was located and secured near Haida Gwaii’s Tow Hill last week.
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The DFO said fishery officers in Masset and Haida Guardians worked with provincial government lead veterinarian Dr. Stephen Raverty to perform a full necropsy on Saturday.
It said the whale was nearly 10 metres (32 feet) long, and showed no obvious cause of death.
The DFO said tissue samples have been collected for examination, with results due in the coming months.
The NOAA says early findings on the dead whales found in 2019 have shown evidence of emaciation, but that the findings have not been consistent among all carcasses, and more research is necessary.
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Grey whales of the Pacific Coast Feeding Group population are listed as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), with an estimated population of 243 remaining individuals.
The Pacific Coast Feeding Group migrates annually from Mexico, where they feed, to the waters of the Pacific Northwest where they spend the summer.
However, the larger population of Eastern North Pacific grey whales is estimated to be much larger, with the NOAA recording about 27,000 animals in a 2015-2016 survey, with the whales not listed as “endangered” or “threatened.”
It was not immediately clear what population of grey whales the latest discovery belongs to.