Humpback whale dies on Vancouver beach

June 12, 2012 at 3:14 PM
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 12 (UPI) -- A 30-foot young humpback whale beached itself on a suburban Vancouver beach Tuesday and died there, marine officials said.

The federal fisheries department was notified about the whale at 5:15 a.m., the Vancouver Sun reported. At the time, the whale was still breathing, the caller said.

By the time marine officials and a veterinarian arrived, the whale had died.

Word spread quickly in the town of White Rock and hundreds of residents, schoolchildren gathered to see the animal. Local Indians performed a spiritual chant for the whale and schoolchildren placed flowers on its head, the Sun said.

Lindsaye Akhurst, manager of the Vancouver Aquarium's marine mammal rescue center, estimated the whale was about 3 years old, although its gender wasn't immediately known.

The first people to reach the whale cut away fishing net, line and rope from around its body. There were also several deep injuries by its tail fin and the animal was underweight, officials said.

The Canadian coast guard was scheduled to use a hovercraft to tow the body to an undisclosed location for a necropsy, but it wasn't clear what would become of the carcass after that, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said.

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