Serious injuries

Sometimes these superb up-close encounters with nature leave you with a bit a sad feeling. Somewhere towards the end of the thirty minutes with the whales, I noticed something weird on the back of one of the whales. It looked like something was missing. I tried to focus on it, which wasn’t that easy as we now had all six whales around the ship. But fortunately, I managed to grab a few pictures when it surfaced again.

 

20171229_Arjen_Drost_59324
Humpback Whale with back injury

The dorsal fin of this individual was quite thin and not as stiff as those of the other whales, and just in front of that, there was a major gap in the back. The injury was big enough that most likely some parts of several vertebrae should have been removed for this. The cause was most likely a hit by a ship, either from the bow of a fast-moving vessel or by the propeller of a ship. Either way, the animal seemed to have healed well and, apart from the dorsal fin, didn’t seem to suffer too much from its injury. But it was definitely a sad sight.

 

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

2 comments

  • That is a heartbreaking sight, but it also reinforces how remarkable these animals are. To take a hit like that and still heel enough to live the extraordinary life of a Humpback is really amazing. It would be interesting to know if it has changed the migration distance of this individual .

    Like

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