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Grey whale death in Boundary Bay has experts stumped

Last Updated Jun 7, 2019 at 11:32 am PDT

FILE: A dead grey whale washed up on a beach is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Cascadia Research MANDATORY CREDIT
Summary

A dead grey whale has been found off the coast of Boundary Bay

This is the sixth one found in B.C. in the past few months

Expert reports currently list the cause of death as inconclusive

TSAWWASSEN (NEWS 1130) – The death of a grey whale, the sixth to die in B.C. waters in the past few months, has experts baffled.

This follows a full necropsy report, which was inconclusive, as the animal displayed no obvious signs of entanglement or a vessel strike playing a role.

Paul Cottrell with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says this animal was in better condition than others found earlier this year.

“The overall body condition, this was a 13.8 metre female animal, was a little better than the previous ones in terms of the blubber layer and the lipid fat content,” says Cottrell.

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He adds that the grey whales stomach content, which full of prey, is being looked at as a contributing factor.

The deaths off the coast of B.C. are consistent with what scientists are witnessing on the U.S. Pacific coast. At least 70 have been discovered in Canada and the U.S. since the beginning of the year.

Tissue samples of this most recent case will now be examined in both Canada and the U.S. with experts looking for other toxins or pathogens that may explain the death.