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.

Just Posted

Lake Babine Nation councillor resigns before being sworn in

Paul Joseph steps down before being sworn in

Kevin Kriese becomes chair of the Forest Practices Board

Smithers’ Kriese’s three-year appointment beings August 7.

Moricetown Mud Bog stuck in a rut for 2018

A busy personal life for organizers means there will be no Moricetown Mud Bog in Witset this year.

Smithers ‘way ahead’ on preparing for pot

Public consultation around town on pot use, dispensing and licensing this summer.

Update on contaminated mine sites program

The report details work done over the past two years to remediate contaminated sites.

BC Games: Dance, spoken-word highlights at Opening Ceremony in Cowichan

Hundreds of athletes and thousands of volunteers, coaches, parents and officials

Special Olympics athletes take on BC Games during Global Day of Inclusion

Twenty-five athletes and nine coaches are here in Cowichan Valley during the 50th anniversary

Scammers dressed as Mounties threaten to arrest senior if she doesn’t cough up cash

Pair of fraudulent officers threaten to arrest 90-year-old woman

Fundraiser launched to help mom of French jogger detained after accidentally crossing U.S border

Cedella Roman, 19, was detained in America after accidentally crossing the border

Trump slams Federal Reserve rate hikes

Fed raised benchmark rate for a second time this year in June, and projects two more hikes to come

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Friday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

UPDATED: 1,500 residents on evacuation alert as Peachland under state of emergency

The Mount Eneas wildfire has forced an evacuation alert of 596 properties

Police to provide update on case against alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur

McArthur worked as a landscaper, allegedly concealed the remains of seven men in planters

Premiers to wrap up 2 days of meetings at New Brunswick seaside resort

Meetings held in the scenic seaside town of St. Andrews on Thursday focused on trade

Most Read