Tests on whales show blunt trauma on endangered right whales found in Gulf

A group of wildlife veterinarians say several North Atlantic right whale carcasses found floating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in recent weeks showed signs of blunt trauma.

The Canadian Wildlife Health Co-operative issued a statement Thursday saying two necropsies were performed earlier this week in the Magdalen Islands, and while one right whale carcass was too decomposed for a preliminary diagnosis, the second had marks of blunt trauma.

The group says the marks suggest the endangered whale may have collided with a vessel.

Tests performed earlier on two right whales in Prince Edward Island also showed signs of blunt trauma.

As of July 5, seven right whale carcasses have been found floating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Marine scientists have said they need to intensify efforts to find out if the lumbering giants are making the Gulf one of their primary feeding grounds in a shift away from their traditional habitats in the Bay of Fundy and Roseway Basin.

The deaths represent a devastating blow to the whale's fragile population, which is now only about 525.