Whale's skeleton kept for education 0
A Humpback whale was found beached in White Rock in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Its carcass was returned to the ocean and will decompose naturally until its skeleton is ready for public display. (FILE PHOTO)
A humpback whale that died on White Rock beach will be studied and its skeleton eventually displayed at the Whale Interpretive Centre on Vancouver Island.
Paul Cottrell, of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said the marine mammal, which died after becoming entangled in plastic rope, has for now been sunk and anchored offshore until its carcass can be moved to place where it can decompose naturally.
That process of decomposition, he said, could take years and will be done in a controlled environment to ensure the skeleton remains intact.
"It's worth it in the end. It will be available for education purposes," he said.
Hundreds of people gathered on the shore Tuesday morning when the battered and starving whale washed up. Officials said the whale was emaciated and was unable to eat because of the ropes.
An investigation is underway to determine the source of the plastic gear, which Cottrell said could be debris from the Japan tsunami.
He praised volunteers for their efforts to save the whale and urged people who see such creatures in distress to call the BC Marine Mammal Response Network at 1-800-465-4336.