Posted by: The ocean update | January 14, 2016

Two whales injured in Virginia waters from boats (USA)

A humpback whale was seen with parallel slices across its back on December 13 near Cape Henry. Aquarium officials say the slices are consistent with a boat propeller wound.(Photo : Jessica Aschettino)

A humpback whale was seen with parallel slices across its back on December 13 near Cape Henry. Aquarium officials say the slices are consistent with a boat propeller wound.(Photo : Jessica Aschettino)

January 14th, 2016. VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. –  Two whales have been injured by boat strikes in Virginia waters over the last two months, according to Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Stranding Response Program officials.

A humpback whale was seen with parallel slices across its back on December 13 near Cape Henry. Aquarium officials say the slices are consistent with a boat propeller wound.

“The whale was surfacing normally ; our researchers are unsure if the injury was life-threatening, although the wounds were determined to be serious,” Aquarium officials said in a press release. “‘The size and shape of the wounds indicate it may have been hit by a recreational vessel.”

Another injured humpback whale was observed on January 9 near Cape Henry.

“The very long gash in front of the dorsal fin may have been from a propeller or the result of blunt force trauma, but the injuries appeared to be life-threatening,” officials said. “Our Stranding Response Program collaborators and whale watch vessels are continuing to search for this animal.”

Whales frequent our waters during colder months. Large whales are typically slow moving, swim close to the surface, and can easily be hit and injured by vessels.

Be alert to signs that a whale is in your vicinity even when travelling or fishing in a boat. Signs to look for include the blow; splashing; birds diving; other boats stopped in a cluster, especially if they are not fishing; and fish scattering at the surface.

Promptly report any injured, entangled, or stranded marine mammal or sea turtle to the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program by calling the 24-hour hotline at (757) 385-7575.

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