Well-known humpback whale killed in boat collision - Tucson News Now

Well-known humpback whale killed in boat collision

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • Varying health premium subsidies worry consumers

    Varying health premium subsidies worry consumers

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:43 PM EDT2014-07-24 16:43:56 GMT
    Linda Close was grateful to learn she qualified for a sizable subsidy to help pay for her health insurance under the new federal law. But in the process of signing up for a plan, Close said her HealthCare.gov...
    Linda Close was grateful to learn she qualified for a sizable subsidy to help pay for her health insurance under the new federal law. But in the process of signing up for a plan, Close said her HealthCare.gov account...
  • Gov: Senator in plagiarism row deserves respect

    Gov: Senator in plagiarism row deserves respect

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:38 PM EDT2014-07-24 16:38:53 GMT
    Sen. John Walsh said his unattributed use of others' work in his master's thesis was not plagiarism but "a few citations that were unintentionally left out of a term paper" that he blamed in part on...
    Montana Gov. Steve Bullock says he didn't know that Sen. John Walsh had plagiarized parts of his master's thesis when he appointed the former National Guard general to the Senate earlier this year.
  • Arizona execution rekindles death penalty debate

    Arizona execution rekindles death penalty debate

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:38 PM EDT2014-07-24 16:38:21 GMT
    A condemned murderer took nearly two hours to die and gasped for about 90 minutes during an execution in Arizona that quickly rekindled the national debate on capital punishment in the U.S.
    The nation's third execution in six months to go awry rekindled the debate over the death penalty and handed potentially new evidence to those building a case against lethal injection as cruel and unusual punishment.

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Federal law enforcement officials are investigating after a 48-foot female whale well-known in the waters of southeast Alaska was killed in a collision with a boat.

A tour-boat operator found the whale, which had been seen in the waters of southeast Alaska for nearly 40 years, near Funter Bay on July 1. The carcass was hauled to a nearby beach, where a necropsy was performed July 3, officials said Friday.

"The left mandible was fractured and the right mandible was traumatically dislocated from the cranium," Dr. Kathy Burek of Alaska Veterinary Pathology Services, the lead veterinarian on the necropsy, said in a statement Friday. "Cause of death was determined to be ship strike."

During the necropsy, tissue and organ samples were collected, including stomach contents. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said analysis of the eye and ear plug should be able to determine the whale's age.

The whale has been known by several names, including Max, Aequorea or No. 539. It was first documented in Glacier Bay, near Juneau, in 1975. Records indicate she had at least five calves between 1982 and 2005. Her offspring have produced at least three other calves, officials said.

The whale was regularly seen in both Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and Icy Strait. The last documented sighting was two years ago. Whales are distinguished by their distinctively pigmented tails.

The whale's death serves as a reminder for ocean users to slow down and be careful, said Aleria Jensen, NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region marine mammal stranding coordinator.

"With a recovering population, we are seeing more and more humpback whales every year. This is a reminder to take extra precaution when whales are in the area and slow your vessel's speed. It's the number one action to take to prevent ship strike," Jensen said.

There were 108 collisions between boats and whales in Alaska waters from 1978-2011. Most of the boats involved were small vessels. A third of the collisions resulted in human injury or property damage. Many people were thrown into the water after the strike.

The investigation is being led by NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement. Officials ask if anyone has any information about this incident to call 1-800-853-1964.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by WorldNow