The DFO has issued a necropsy report today on the killer whale found dead near Sooke on March 23rd. Here is the part of the report that deals with this calf.
DFO can … confirm that the dead killer whale calf found near Sooke, BC on March 23rd, 2016 has been ID’d by the Vancouver Aquarium genetics team as a southern resident. The female calf was less than 2 weeks of age and had not yet been categorized. Further analysis will be done to determine which pod the calf belonged to. A necropsy was performed on March 25th, 2016. The initial/gross necropsy results did not indicate a cause of death, but given the young age of the animal, a birthing complication is suspected.
Analysis of tissue and blood samples is underway for both animals, and results will be provided to DFO in the final necropsy reports in 3-4 weeks.
The results of these necropsies will feed into a growing body of knowledge to assist in assessing the threats to Southern Resident killer whales from a population health perspective. This data allows us to look at trends, pathogens, or other indicators that may affect their life histories.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada would like to acknowledge the efforts and collaboration from the BC Ministry of Agriculture (and in particular, Drs Stephen Raverty and Heindrich Snyman, Veterinary Pathologists who performed the necropsy exams), Vancouver Aquarium staff for their DNA sequencing, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), not to mention numerous dedicated DFO staff and biologists.