Death of beached whale draws crowds to B.C. beach
People gather around a beached humpback whale that died during low tide in White Rock, B.C., on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. (Darryl Dyck / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:42PM EDT
Hundreds of onlookers descended upon White Rock beach, just south of Vancouver, on Tuesday to mourn a beached whale that died on the sandy tidal flats.
Residents spotted the creature stranded along the shoreline early in the morning, just after the tide receded. Veterinarians confirmed the whale's death a few hours later.
Families who lived in the area had carried buckets full of water down to the beach, about 45 kilometres south of metro Vancouver, to keep the whale hydrated.
"Those efforts, unfortunately, were futile as it wasn't meant to be for this whale," CTV British Columbia reporter Brent Shearer told News Channel on Tuesday.
An official with the Vancouver Aquarium believes the whale may have been in distress for several weeks, he noted. A heavy nylon fishing line was found near the remains.
"It looked like, from what he could see, there was some scarring on the fluke of the whale," said Shearer, referring to the creature's tail fins.
A necropsy has been planned to determine the cause of death.
Shearer noted the whale, estimated to be between eight and 10 metres in length, is only about one or two years old. Veterinarians say the creature could have been born just last spring.
Beached whales aren't an unusual sight on the west coast of Vancouver Island and near Tofino, Shearer added, but are rare this close to metro Vancouver.