Right whale spotted with 10-foot gash in flank

Thursday, March 15, 2007

PROVINCETOWN, Mass. (AP) — An aerial survey team has spotted a North Atlantic right whale off the Cape Cod coast with what appears to be a 10-foot long propeller wound along its right flank.

The wound, probably suffered when the mammal was struck by a ship, appeared to be about two feet wide, but it could not be determined whether it had penetrated through the whale’s protective blubber.

Despite the wound, the whale appeared to be behaving normally, said Cynthia Browning, aerial survey coordinator for the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies.

Charles Mayo, the center’s senior scientist, called the wound “gruesome.”

The approximately 35-foot-long juvenile would likely die as a result of the injury, he said, but held out some hope for the whale’s survival. There was nothing scientists could do to help the animal, he said.

The wound was several weeks old and could have occurred anywhere between the Canadian Maritimes and Florida, Mayo said.

Scientists think only about 350 of the sea mammals survive.


Information from: Cape Cod Times, http://www.capecodonline.com


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