December 3rd, 2010
Experts are keeping a close eye on a badly injured whale seen swimming in south Puget Sound.
They say the whale appears to be either a sei or a Bryde's whale, two species rarely seen in the sound.
John Calambokidis (cal-um-BOH'-kee-dihs) of Olympia-based Cascadia Research says the large chunk of blubber and flesh missing from the top of the 40-foot whale's back probably is from a strike from the propeller of a fast-moving twin-engine vessel. The whale also has a second back injury.
Calambokidis says his organization is seeking a second opinion on both the species identification and the severity of the injury. The whale has been in the area since at least Nov. 25.
Marine experts say the whale's prognosis is not good. Infection is a major threat because the larger wound is so deep.