The death of a wandering humpback whale that captured the hearts of Montrealers may have been caused by a collision, according to a research group.
The Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals, based in Tadoussac, said on social media on Wednesday that preliminary results are in from the necropsy but more information is needed to determine if a boat did hit the whale.
“Veterinarians suspect a collision,” the group said. “More histological analysis may allow confirmation.”
The necropsy is being carried out in Sainte-Anne-de-Sorel by a team of veterinarians from the Université de Montréal. GREMM reported that the whale was a young female, measured 10.2 metres and weighed 17.2 tons.
It’s not the ending that experts and onlookers alike wanted. The wayward whale first made its way to Montreal in late May and was spotted in the St. Lawrence River.
The humpback’s appearance is a first in Montreal, according to experts. While it is unclear what prompted the animal to make the long journey up the river, they suggested it might have followed prey, become lost or simply been curious.
After attracting crowds of admirers, the whale was last seen in the Old Port area last week. It was a maritime pilot who discovered her carcass floating lifelessly in the middle of the river in Varennes on Tuesday.
The mammal’s carcass was towed to shore later that day.
— With files from the Canadian Press