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Young female humpback whale ‘Spike’ found dead off Vancouver Island

Officials still investigating cause of whale’s death

A young female humpback whale has been found dead off northern Vancouver Island.

“She was Spike, BCX1847, who we first documented in 2018 and who was seen every year since, often just north of Port Hardy,” stated the Marine Education & Research Society (MERS) on social media. “We have secured her body so that she does not float away with the possible evidence of what killed her.”

Spike, whose body was discovered on the north side of Malcolm Island, was nicknamed for a dinosaur-like marking on the left side of her fluke (Spike is a dinosaur character in “Land Before Time”).

MERS added it currently does not know the whale’s cause of death.

“Considering Spike was a young female and that there are no apparent external injuries, it will not be a surprise if it is found that she died from blunt force trauma from being hit by a boat. The necropsy, that will soon be done by DFO, is necessary to know for sure what caused her death.”

MERS added it will provide updates when more is known, and it’s sharing the images of the dead whale for two reasons; so locals know this has been reported and action is being undertaken, and so that the tragedy might lead to more awareness, from who to call, to whatever conclusions can be made about the cause of her death.

The Gazette has reached out to MERS’ Marine Detective, Jackie Hildering for comment.

The DFO Incident Reporting Line is 1-800-465-4336 and to learn more about humpbacks and the dangers of blunt force trauma from being hit by a boat, go to

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