Fin whale stranding (Balenoptera physalus), Chub Cay, North Berry Islands, Bahamas on September 3rd, 2011
Stranding Location: 25°28.886'N, 77°57.339'W
The stranding was reported to (BMMRO) on September 3rd by Colin Lightbourn at approximately 11:15am.
The live-stranded whale was first noticed by the staff of Mr. Vythouslka, who had a fishing boat anchored within the vicinity of the
initial stranding. Kendria Ferguson (BMMRO) was able to get into contact with one of the staff members, Fred Greene, who stayed with the animal
from the time it was sighted shortly after 10 a.m. until 16:00 p.m. Fred reported that the tide was beginning to flood and the animal was able to
move off the bank en route to deeper water but returned back to shallower water shortly after. At this time, the animal appeared to be struggling
to swim and there were approximately seven sharks in the area.
BMMRO researchers responded immediately and flew to Chub Cay to try to assist. They confirmed the species as a fin whale,
and collected a sloughed skin sample for genetics. They noted that the whale was severely emaciated, sunburned and overheating
in the warm, shallow water. There were no external injuries or clues as to how the whale had become ill. Sadly, there was
nothing that could be done to help and the whale died overnight. Atlantis staff responded the next day, but due to the large
number of sharks in the area, were unable to perform a necropsy.
Special thanks to Mr. Mike Lightbourn, for providing travel to BMMRO staff, and Mr. Colin Lightbourn and Fred Greene for their assistance in Chub Cay.