Photos/Videos: Beached 17-Ft Minke Whale Dies

May 31, 2012

[Updated with photos/videos] At sometime before noon today [May 31] a 17-foot whale was discovered on a small beach area in an enclosure in St George’s located in the vicinity of the Meyer Boat Slip.

Local boaters spotted the whale at approximately 11.30am and called in the report, although at first they were unsure what it was [whale, dolphin etc].

There were three boats on scene at around noon, with at least one being a Fisheries Patrol boat. Earlier in the afternoon it appeared the whale was alive, and personnel on the boats were seen stroking the whale.

The whale was measured at 17 foot and 7 inches long, with a tail span of 4 foot 3 inches, and died on the scene. A necropsy [animal autopsy] took place at the scene at approximately 1pm.

Personnel on scene assisting included Fisheries Patrol, Aquarium staff, Dr Ian Walker, and whale researcher and documentarian Andrew Stevenson. Speaking at the scene before the necropsy, Mr Stevenson said they believe it was a young fin or minke whale, and was alive when it was first found.

The experts are still on the scene, and as of 2.55pm look at though they are getting ready to remove the whale. We will update with additional information as able.

Update 3.32pm: The necropsy is complete, and the whale was tied to a Fisheries Patrol boat and was taken out to sea.

Update 3.56pm: The video of Principle Curator of the Aquarium Dr Ian Walker speaking at the scene is below. He said there was nothing “grossly wrong with those organs, the spleen had a few things that were interesting that we will send off for a specialist to look at.

“But other than that on the inside the animal seemed normal, there is nothing here to suggest a reason why the animal beached. The cause of death is definitive, the animal drowned and inhaled water,” said Dr Walker.

He also said “an animal this size” was likely traveling with a group of whales, but “obviously they are not going to stick around once the animal beaches.”

Update 6.31pm: A 6-minute video of the necropsy being performed is here on Youtube. The video is graphic, viewer discretion is advised. The necropsy was performed by staff of the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo, Department of Conservation Services within the Ministry of Public Works. Officials also confirmed that it was a Minke whale.

Click to enlarge photos:

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Category: #Animal, All, Environment, Environment, Marine, News, Photos

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  1. Dead Baby Whale Washes Ashore In East End | | April 10, 2014
  1. see for yourself says:

    dont let it go to waste, eat dat fish bie

    • get a life says:

      :| ignorant

      • see for yourself says:

        how is that ignorant, whats wrong with saying dont let it go to waste?? Whale is actually edible and not half bad, but i guess you are ignorant by not knowing you can eat them…

        ps, the fish part was a joke duh

  2. PLP voter says:

    RIP OBA whale.

    • Come correct says:

      Everything is political right? But it must be an OBA whale since the minister of the environment hates our environment.

  3. MMM says:

    Ain’t never had no whale before…at least of the ocean variety…Mah get a little piece!!

  4. betty Rech says:

    very sad

  5. Come correct says:

    Probably got hit by a sail boat…

  6. 270 says:

    Send me a slice in England!

  7. Ki says:

    This is so sad. I wish they could have done more for it.
    Is it a Minke Whale? I’m interested to know and this provided no information, at least nothing we couldn’t discern from the pictures.

  8. Piece of da rock says:

    To me it looks like it was hit by a propeller.

  9. kenny foggo & rachael l sousa says:

    Yes it was a Minke whale…

  10. Waslet says:

    You lot ain’t serz! Jokers.

  11. TheFuture says:

    Mussbe gummintz fawlt.

  12. Dude says:

    Could be prop cuts, but I would expect prop cuts to be more evenly spaced and symmetrical length, depth and direction etc….

    Looks more like that part of the whale dragged across something like a hull, rocks or reefs…

  13. Alison says:

    Great photos, Bernews, as always. Definately a Minke whale, the pointy snout and white flipper patches are tell tale signs of this species.

  14. shawn says:

    ok *sigh* first nothing looks like prop cuts.if there where prop cuts they would b deep and open props on my R/C boat would make more mess. also it would have to b SWIMMING UPSIDE DOWN and lenthwise for that to even…….ok im tired. makin brain hurt. more likely those are the bruises from it…wait for it….RUNNING AGROUND! it was a dieing beached whale.

    • Keepin' it Real...4Real! says:


  15. Michael Brangman says:

    My conclusions are the result analysis of the photos and information provided from this article and a little research which provides clear evidence to indicate the whale was hit by a boat or other surface object and succumbed to those injuries.

    1. Pattern abrasions and cuts on top of whale indicate it was travelling when it collided with something on the surface.

    2. Initial impact appears to have occurred at top of head most likely resulting in brain damage, and continued the length of whale. If brain was exposed sign of swelling and blood pooling would have been present.

    3. Brain damage impaired whales ability function inevitably resulting in death.

    4. Most marine animals drown as a final part of the death process. Drowning is usually a secondary effect much like people dying of pneumonia when gravely ill.

  16. STRANDED says:

    Could this be the whal that was struck by a boat recently? The poor creature must have suffered a lot.

  17. Aruna says:

    so… does a fish/whale……drown?

    • Aruna says:

      ha. just answered my own question. ignore the former question.

  18. in other news.... says:

    Wow, I wanna know who that handsome brooding man is in the red shorts!

  19. bDaRaCeHeAd says:

    Can’t bring a cruise boat through the channel, but a whale can swim through it and beach itself by the boatslip…..only in’s!

  20. Tricia says:

    One photo looks like the poor whale was hit by something – could it be a boat? There was a speed boat going up and down along North Shore today from Spanish Point all the way out towards Ferry Reach. Poor whale would not have stood a chance if that thing ran over it. Not a chance.
    It’s so sad.

  21. BDAPhoenix says:

    The whale appears to be emaciated in many of the photos. It spine is very easily seen as well as the ribs and skull. This animal for whatever reason seems as if it was not eating enough or not able to eat probably. There are so many reasons an animal such as this whale strands itself and maybe the necropsy might give more details into the exact reasons for this to happen. There are also the chances it was injured by a boat but they mentioned that they had to move the animal/ was also dragged out by earlier attempts to return to the water that injuries to the skin occurred by scrapping along the rocks and not necessarily a collision. It is a shame this young animal died and I hope some information from the necropsy is given once the details return for the experts. To all those who assisted and did the work of the necropsy well done, we are very lucky we don’t have that many strandings here in Bermuda waters but it looks like there are always many people willing to help an animal in need.

  22. fess up says:

    ok — fess up !
    which drunk human on a jet ski or in a speeding boat (sailboats can’t hit fast enough kill whales)
    hit & killed this poor baby mammal ?
    his whale mum must be so sad to have lost him after carrying him for 2 year pregnancy
    too sad for this to happen to him
    we inconsiderate humans need to SLOW DOWN
    be considerate of ALL the gentle animals
    that live on this blue earth
    poor little baby
    whoever struck & killed him robbed this baby whale of his beautiful 90+ year lifespan

  23. Drewskie25 says:

    I must say that I have finally finished reading all the comments on this poor whale and must say that most of these comments seem to be from very uneducated bermudians… Come on now when people in a nation can make fun of harmless and helpless creature, how will the country ever get ahead in serious matters… All these joke comments are very sad and ignorant… If you don’t have something really worth saying why say it at all….