In this photo taken July 31, 2015, passengers aboard a boat watch a pair of orca whales swim past in the Salish Sea in the San Juan Islands, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

A southern resident killer whale found in West Coast waters died of blunt trauma, likely caused by a ship or large boat.

The report, posted on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website Monday, comes more than two years since J34 was found dead near Sechelt in December 2016. The 18-year-old male killer whale, dubbed DoubleStuf, was the first of two calves birthed by J22 (nicknamed Oreo).

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada said that the blunt trauma was sustained on the dorsal side of the whale, located on his top side or back. That injury caused a hematoma, the report found, which means J34 was alive at the time of the injury and would have survived the initial trauma for a period of time prior to his death.

Southern resident pods tend to migrate seasonally from B.C. coastal waters as far south as California, believed to be based on salmon supply. It’s unclear exactly where the male orca was when he was injured.

ALSO READ: Sick orca J50 declared dead by 1 group while scientists remain hopeful

Otherwise, J34 was in moderate to good health, the report said.

It’s estimated that the whale was dead for three to five days before it was spotted off B.C. shores, according to reports at the time. Government officials worked with the Sechelt First Nation to bring the body to the mainland for biologists to complete a necropsy.

The report comes as environmentalists and whale advocates have voiced ample concern over how an increase in oil tanker traffic from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion could put the remaining whales at risk, specifically from possible oil spills and disrupting noises caused by the vessels.

ALSO READ: Conservation groups sue Ottawa to protect endangered killer whales

READ MORE: Two southern resident killer whales missing as experts fear for the population

The expansion project, recently green-lit for a second time by the federal government, will increase tanker traffic sevenfold where the various pods feed and live.

There are just over 70 of these whales left in the entire world.

Black Press Media has reached out to Environment Minister George Heyman for further comment.

WATCH: B.C. man films up-close view of orca breaching near Victoria


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rebound recovery program helps more than 50 PQB businesses remain open

Nearly $90K in aid received through Oceanside Initiatives plan

Parksville family receives anonymous letters complaining children are being too loud

Letter said the noise of kids playing in the backyard is ‘unbearable’

PQBeat Podcast: Beloved Parksville volunteer Joan LeMoine

Discussion includes childhood memories, receiving the key to the city and more

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Most Read