The final necropsy report on Montreal's famous Old Port humpback whale that died this summer was unveiled by the Centre québécois sur la santé des animaux sauvages and the Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network on Wednesday. How it died, however, is still a mystery.
Lead veterinarian Stéphane Lair confirmed that "although a collision with a boat was initially suspected, the autopsy carried out on this humpback whale did not confirm this hypothesis. The cause of death, therefore, remains uncertain."
In-depth analyses of the carcass [...] could not confirm what caused the death of the whale.
Centre québécois sur la santé des animaux sauvages & Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network
For a pandemic-fatigued city, images and videos of the whale enjoying itself and jumping around brought endless joy to all of us.
But like everything in 2020, things took a turn for the terrible when the whale was found dead a few days later, floating lifeless near Varennes, Montérégie.
It was originally believed that the whale was struck by a boat.
Lair also suggested "it's possible that its prolonged exposure to fresh water may have affected its physiological functions."
Whatever the cause of the whale's demise, Lair and his team suspect a sudden death.
"The passage of the humpback whale in Montreal demonstrates that many questions about the ecology and behaviour of this species and the interventions to be made when it finds itself in trouble remain to be explored," he concluded.