Washington Orca Mystery
6:46 am
Tue February 14, 2012

Whodunit Surrounds Bruised & Bloody Killer Whale Carcass

LONG BEACH, Wash. -- The bruised and bloody carcass of an endangered killer whale washed ashore at Long Beach, Washington this weekend. An initial necropsy did not pinpoint a cause of death. Correspondent Tom Banse has more on an emerging whodunit.

The young female orca whale was examined by multiple agencies including Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, the Seaside Aquarium, Portland State University and Cascadia Research Collective. Jesse Huggins of Cascadia Research says the whale died from massive trauma.

"We do not know what caused the trauma, though. It had extensive bruising around the head, around the chest and on the right flank," Huggins says.

Huggins says the injuries don't look like what she'd expect from a ship collision. An attack by other animals is another possibility, but there are no giveaway teeth marks or scars visible. Yet another line of inquiry is whether this whale could have passed near a Canadian naval ship last week during a sonar exercise. The dead orca has been identified as L-112, a member of a pod that frequents Puget Sound. That endangered resident population numbers fewer than 88 now.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network