This photo shows the fresh, deep gash on a humpback whale. Photo courtesy Peter Hamilton/Lifeforce Ocean Friends

Injured humpback whale spotted near Comox

Fresh gash on juvenile possibly caused by boat prop

An injured humpback whale has a local conservationist concerned.

Peter Hamilton, of Lifeforce Ocean Friends, said he first spotted the juvenile swimming alone on July 8, in the Georgia Strait, about a mile off Cape Lazo, near Comox.

“I was out, and I saw this one humpback alone, doing very shallow surfacing, which I thought was a little unusual, so I observed [it] for a while and saw some injuries on its side,” said Hamilton. “Eventually he or she swam close to the boat and I got a photo of a very deep cut, exposing part of the spine, between the dorsal fin and the tail.”

Hamilton was unsure of the cause of the injury.

“It could have been a prop, or it could have been an entanglement, but there was no reports of anyone untangling a humpback,” he said. “The cut itself looked like it could have been done by a boat prop, but there were other marks that looked like they could have been rope burns.

“I’ve been in communication with Jackie [Hildering] at MERS (Marine Education and Research Society), trying to determine the injury. Hopefully we can determine the cause of the injury soon.”

Hamilton said he saw the whale again two days later, this time swimming with another whale.

“That is hopeful, seeing it with another whale. It was kind of worrisome, seeing one humpback alone, with such a severe, fresh wound.”

In May, photos surfaced online of an injured humpback in Howe Sound. That injury was suspected to have been caused by a boat propeller.

“There is a lot of human activity on the waters, which makes it hazardous for the whales,” said Hamilton. “Unfortunately, the new regulations did not increase the distance boaters have to keep from humpbacks. It should be at least 200 metres.”

RELATED: New regulations call for more distance between boats and whales

New regulations imposed this week stipulate boats must remain 200 metres from all killer whales in B.C. The regulated distance from humpbacks remains 100 metres.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

School District 79 working hard to support the community

Assistance being provided in this challenging time from COVID-19

North Cowichan was considering a 4.4 per cent tax increase in 2020

But Mayor Al Siebring suggests COVID-19 crisis could see tax proposal lowered

Duncan’s Pat Kay copes with Olympic roller-coaster

‘Confusing time’ as Canada pulls out due to COVID-19, followed by IOC postponement

Long list of events disrupted by COVID-19 around the community

Challenging situation affecting fundraisers, entertainment, sports and more

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach youngster gets car parade for his sixth birthday

Friends get creative after party cancelled due to ongoing pandemic

Most Read