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Montevideo, April 22nd 2019 - 16:12 UTC

Humpback whale appears floating in the port of Montevideo

Tuesday, June 14th 2011 - 21:52 UTC
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The eight metre cetacean remains were recovered by a municipal crew (Photo El Pais) The eight metre cetacean remains were recovered by a municipal crew (Photo El Pais)

An eight metre long humpback whale with a big gash close to the mouth appeared dead in the port of Montevideo. According to local marine biologists the cetacean most probably collided with a vessel.

The nine ton whale appeared floating in a rather distant area of the port next to a beach and her presence was reported by Monday early morning runners.

“Two portable cranes and a retro-excavator and a municipal crew were involved in collecting the remains of the whale”, said Captain Sergio Bique, head of the Uruguayan Coast Guard PPRR department.

It took the crew several hours to pull the whale out of the water and load her in a truck. She was driven to the Veterinary School for the autopsy and apparently was later deposited with the purpose of recovering the mammals’ skeleton.

“The whale had a big cut, next to her mouth which could have been caused by a collision with a vessel or with its propellers”, said the Coast Guard primary report.

She might have lost her way because of the humming of propellers speculated some local marine biologists.

“It’s the first time a whale strands in the port of Montevideo, according to our records, which is quite strange”, said marine biologist Rodrigo García.

“Unless she was sick it’s hard to understand how she was so close to the coast and among so many vessels, although it is normal for a number of humpbacks to get stranded along the Uruguayan coast during the twelve months”, added García.

A few months ago another humpback, but alive, was stranded in the eastern Uruguay resort of La Paloma, but she died 48 hours later.

A re-floating attempt was made by Uruguay’s Organization for the Conservation of Cetaceans and willing tourists enjoying the beach but the sea mammal stranded again.

The adult humpbacks can be 16 metres long and weigh up to 40 tons. Their transit along the Uruguayan coast from cold to warmer waters is common.

Categories: Environment, Uruguay.

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