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Whale dies despite rescue bid

Bermuda Sun

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The 17-foot whale had lacerations on its
body. *Photo supplied.

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Members of staff from the Bermuda
Institute of Ocean Sciences try to save the
baby whale found in St. George's yesterday.
*Photo by Tiffany Wardman of BIOS

FRIDAY, JUNE 1 UPDATE: Volunteers fought desperately to save a stricken baby whale that beached itself in St George’s yesterday.

But their efforts to keep the animal afloat and push her out to sea proved in vain when the animal died.

Experts said there were no obvious reasons why the juvenile mammal beached itself and found its internal organs were in good condition.

JP Skinner, education officer at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences was one of the first rescuers on the scene.

He told the Bermuda Sun: “When I got there an Italian yacht crew were trying to pull the whale off the rocks.

“We got in the sea with the whale and tried to keep her afloat.

“But by that time her blow hole was closed and there were no real signs of life.

“The Italian crew told us they had seen her tail moving but soon after we got there her eyes opened and glassed over and there was nothing more we could do.

“It is very sad end for such a beautiful animal.

“And what caused her to drown seems a mystery at the moment.

“It appears the marks on her back were caused by the initial attempts to rescue her and not by her being hit by a boat.

“This was a newly weaned baby that was either sick or lost and that is what may have caused her to come into St George’s.”

The young mammal was spotted close to the Meyer Boat Slip in Johnson Bay at just after 11:30am by the Italian yacht crew.

The 17-foot whale is believed to be a juvenile fin or minke whale.

Aquarium curator Dr Ian Walker later conducted a necropsy examination on the animal to determine the cause of death.

He said there was nothing ‘grossly wrong with the organs’ and concluded the animal drowned by inhaling water.

Dr Walker told media at the scene: “The spleen had a few things that were interesting but those samples will be sent off to specialists to look at.

“On the inside the animal seemed relatively normal.

“There was really nothing here that suggests a reason why the animal would have beached.

“The animal drowned, but why exactly the animal drowned is another matter.

“There was obviously definitely something wrong with the animal.”

At around 3:30pm yesterday the dead whale was tied to a Fisheries Patrol boat and taken out to sea.