It Looks Like Montreal's Whale Has Been Found Dead
Heartbreaking news. The adventurous whale that made an unprecedented journey all the way up the Saint Lawrence River to Montreal has apparently been found dead. The Groupe de recherche et d'éducation sur les mammifères marins (GREMM), which had been tracking the whale in Montreal, made the announcement on Facebook.
"Early this morning, a marine pilot filmed and reported what appears to be a whale carcass in Varennes, Montérégie," the group wrote.
Varennes is just across the river from the northern tip of Montreal Island.
"It is impossible for the moment to confirm that this is indeed the humpback whale observed in recent weeks in Montreal, but it is likely that it is him.
"A team of fishery officers is currently en route to the last known position of this carcass to find out more."
Scientists will perform a necropsy on the animal when they find it.
Several media outlets are pointing to a video posted to Facebook by Simon Lebrun, who identifies himself on his profile as a maritime pilot at the Corporation des Pilotes du Saint-Laurent Central, as evidence of the whale's death.
The whale first appeared near Quebec City on May 26.
From there, it made a slow journey upriver, finally appearing in Montreal on May 30.
It hung out around the Old Port, Parc Jean-Drapeau, and Cartier Bridge for a few days.
Officials and spectators lost sight of the whale on June 7.
The GREMM previously reported that the whale had "no apparent injuries" and good "flesh condition."
The group noted that "it [moved] at a good speed, [seemed] to breathe normally and [had] normal, even dynamic behaviour (diving, jumping) for a humpback whale."
The reasons for its trip to Montreal are still a mystery, though the GREMM put forth some hypotheses.
The whale could have been following food or simply got lost.
It was also possible that it was "seeking new territory" as the world humpback whale population grows.
Researchers were waiting for the whale to turn around and head back to the saltwater Saint Lawrence Estuary on its own.
"Human intervention could [have] further [stressed] or [disoriented] it."
The unusual sight of a whale right next to the Montreal Old Port reportedly drew huge crowds to the shore.
The news of its death is sure to devastate Montrealers.
More news about the cause of the whale's death is coming soon.