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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Nova Scotia beached whale remains a mystery

A necropsy at Charlottetown's Atlantic Veterinary College has been unable to determine why a pygmy sperm whale beached itself and died in Nova Scotia last week.

The whale was found high and dry on a beach in Shelburne Harbour, on Nova Scotia's south shore. Pygmy sperms are amongst the smallest of whales, usually about three metres long fully grown. This was a particularly large one — almost four metres long and weighing more than 200 kilograms.

With the help of members of the Nova Scotia Marine Animal Response Society, fisheries officers rolled the whale back into the water half-a-dozen times. Eric MacIntosh of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said he was hopeful as he watched the whale gain strength swimming across the harbour.

"In this case we were kind of thinking we had done the right thing and got the whale rescued," said MacIntosh.

"The next day it was dead. It was disappointing." (read more)