Video: Necropsy of a right whale

In June 2015, a dead right whale was found drifting near Percé, Gaspesia. The whale was transported to Caplan, QC, where a number of groups including CWHC Quebec participated in conducting a post-mortem examination on the whale. Transporting the carcass and conducting a necropsy are major tasks with an animal of this size (36 tons), but because the species is endangered, it was particularly important to attempt to determine cause of death.

The necropsy was conducted over two days. The carcass was in advanced stages of decomposition, so it was not possible to determine cause of death upon initial examination. There were, however, no obvious signs of trauma or entanglement, which suggests that the whale was not killed by a collision with a boat or entanglement in a fishing net. Samples were taken for further analysis and the skeleton was extracted to be prepared for display at the Groupe de recherche et d’éducation sur les mammifères marins interpretation centre.

In the following videos (English and French), Stéphane Lair, veterinary pathologist and regional director of CWHC Quebec, discusses the necropsy process and outcome.



Submitted by Stéphane Lair, CWHC Quebec

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