FOLLOWUP/VIDEOS: Dead Fin Whale was ‘Apparent Victim of a Ship Strike’
The dead fin whale that washed ashore on Burien’s Seahurst Park Beach Saturday was the “apparent victim of a ship strike,” according to experts at the Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network and Cascadia Research.
The creature – with a large part of its body missing and clear gashes on it – washed up around 10 a.m. Saturday morning (we were first to report about it here).
“Examination revealed that the whale had been been hit by a ship,” read an announcement on Cascadia Research’s website. “There were signs of major trauma and bruising that was most pronounced on the right side of the body. The bruising through the blubber layer indicated the animal was alive when struck. Condition of the carcass indicated it had died from a few days to a week earlier. Several areas of abrasion had what appeared to be red paint likely from the bow of the ship. It is thought that the blow of having been struck and possibly contact with propeller or being dragged at high speed pinned on the bow resulted in the eviscerated condition of the carcass. The location the whale was struck is not known; it could have been carried on the bow of the ship an extended distance as well as floated an unknown distance afterwards.”
Crowds gathered Saturday to view and inspect the carcass, which was estimated to be around 70 feet long. Then around Noon, marine biologists taped it off and took tissue samples for a couple of hours; here’s a photo of one of the whale’s eyes that was removed, courtesy Bonnie Moormeier:
Here’s more from Cascadia Research:
“An examination was conducted by personnel with Cascadia Research, Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, and MAST Center of Highline Community College with coordination from National Marine Fisheries Science Center. Only about half the whale was present consisting of most of the forward part of the body but with the tail and most of the ventral portion missing and most of the organs and spine gone. The length of the portion of the whale present was 16.6m (52.5 feet), but we estimated the animal when intact was likely about 20m long (65.6 feet).”
And here are some videos:
By Jake Winters:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aHQE6HjUSQ
Here’s KING5’s report: