Another whale goes to Montreal

For the second time in two years, a lost whale swam all the way to Montreal, only to find itself in the exact same area of ​​the Saint Lawrence River. This time, it’s the minke whale, a species frequently observed in the estuary. This animal, which is more than 450 kilometers from its natural habitat, can be doomed.

This slender, dark-bodied whale is a type of baleen whale that can reach nine to ten meters in height in adulthood. The one who was first seen on Sunday, before being seen several times on Monday throughout the day, is likely a juvenile.

So it could be an animal that is barely a few months old, measuring about three metres. The minke whale still measured over 2.50 meters at birth, and weighed around 450 kilograms. In adulthood, it can weigh up to 10 tons.

This young whale, which arrives in Montreal almost two years after a young female humpback, spent every Monday swimming between Île Saint-Helen and Île Notre-Dame, near the footbridge in Cosmos, not far from the biosphere. This is exactly where the humpback whale, seen two years ago, was spotted before it was found dead downstream.

As the news of his presence quickly spread on social networks, many curious people, but also representatives of various media outlets, went there. Parc Jean-Drapeau security had to block access to the bridge at the end of the day, due to the presence of onlookers.

The immediately collected comments basically boiled down to the questions: “What is this minke whale doing there? What can we do to save it? Can he go home alone? There are a lot of questions that remain unanswered, as in the case of the humpback whale observed in the year 2020.

away from home

Because the animal has been swimming against a strong current for more than 24 hours, this situation could eventually exhaust it, according to the scientific director of the Marine Mammal Research and Education Group, Robert Michaud. “These are less robust animals with fewer reserves than humpback whales, such as the ones that visited Montreal in 2020.”

According to the first images analyzed by scientists, the animal, breathing on the surface every three to five minutes, will be in good physical shape. They are unable to determine if these cetaceans would be able to feed in the area. This whale, which usually lives in salt water, feeds mainly on capelin and herring, species that are not found in river waters in the Montreal region.

At the moment, no intervention is planned to try to capture or frighten this animal. Such an operation has never been performed in Quebec for an animal of this size swimming freely.

Hoping to return to its natural habitat, the estuary of the St. Lawrence River, this minke whale must turn around and descend the seaway for more than 450 kilometers. This species is often observed there in summer, especially in Saguenay-St. Marine Lawrence. The minke whale is not a vulnerable species, as it will have several hundred thousand individuals worldwide.

This is the second time in less than two years that large cetaceans have been found in the Montreal area. In May 2020, a female 10-meter humpback whale spent more than a week in the area. It attracted hundreds of curious people every day, who came to observe it near the Quai de l’Horloge. In particular, they were able to see her perform dozens of impressive jumps out of the water.

This humpback whale, which caused quite a stir in Montreal, has finally died after a “sudden event,” according to a whale autopsy report. Even if the impact of a collision with a ship in the St. Lawrence Seaway is still very plausible, the scientists who analyzed the case were unable to confirm this hypothesis.

Let’s see in the video

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