A minke whale died along the shore near Clifton Sunday morning.
Tonya Wimmer, executive director of the Marine Animal Response Society, said the first calls, which came in early in the morning, reported a live whale stranded at the mouth of the Shubenacadie River. A first responder from the society headed out right away but before he arrived the animal had died.
“We don’t know why it died yet,” said Wimmer. “It could have been chasing fish in the bay and got caught by the tides.
“We couldn’t get easy access because of the deep mud but if it’s picked up by the tide and moves to a more accessible area we’ll look at it closer.”
The whale is about eight metres long, so it wasn’t a calf but wasn't a full grown adult. It was on its stomach, so it wasn’t possible to tell if it was male or female.
“It’s a bit unusual to see a minke so far back in the Bay of Fundy, but they are found throughout Maritime waters,” said Wimmer.
If the tides carry the body to an area where it can be accessed, a necropsy could be done.
“Looking is fine, but people shouldn’t touch beached whales,” Wimmer added. “It can be dangerous for the animal and they can carry disease.”
Anyone who sees a marine animal in distress, or washed ashore, is asked to call the MARS emergency hotline at 1-866-567-6277. Sending a photo is very helpful.
Minke whale facts:
Smallest of the baleen (having bristly baleen plates instead of teeth) whales
Grow to about 8 metres in length.
Weigh 5-10 tonnes.
They’re curious and sometimes approach boats.
Migrate to warmer waters during the winter.
Often travel alone or with one or two others.
Eat krill, fish and eels.
It is believed they can live up to 50 years.
Minke whales are hunted by humans and killer whales and are sometimes killed after being caught in fishing nets.