Early this morning, at 8:30, a collaborator from the Canadian Coast Guard reports a beluga carcass that a friend spotted the day before, beached on the shore of a small island a few kilometres from Forestville. As only a photo is available, the Marine Mammal Emergency Call Centre team contacts Mériscope employees based in Portneuf-sur-Mer to evaluate the possibilities of going on site to validate the situation. It is important to determine whether the carcass is in good enough condition to be transported to the Université de Montréal’s faculty of veterinary medicine (FMV) in Saint-Hyacinthe. Fortunate coincidence Dany Zbinden and his team just happened to be getting ready to leave for Forestville.

Washed away by the tide

After plying the shores for several kilometres, the carcass was never located. Conclusion: it was probably carried away by the high tide between the time of the observation and the time it was reported to Marine Mammals Emergencies. As no data could be collected or samples taken, the information we have is very incomplete. Male? Female? How big? How old?

The Mériscope team will set out to sea on Thursday, July 9 in the Baie de Mille-Vaches and Forestville region; just maybe it will spot the drifting carcass again. If you happen to be frequenting the area in coming days and you spot a white whale floating on the surface, with its pectoral fin pointing skyward and even possibly with gulls resting on its carcass, please report it promptly by calling 1-877-7baleine (1-877-722-5346). You will be asked to provide GPS coordinates and details of the observation. This is the 4th beluga carcass found this year.

Marine Mammal Emergencies - 9/7/2015

Josiane Cabana

Josiane Cabana served as Director for the Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network call centre from 2011 to 2018. When she’s not responding to cases of dead or vulnerable marine mammals, she likes to take the time to educate local residents on the threats faced by these animals. Biologist by training, she has been involved with the GREMM for more than 15 years, and always with the same undying passion!

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