A dead killer whale calf was discovered near Nootka Island on Wednesday.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada took DNA samples of the animal, which could identify whether the killer whale was a transient, northern resident or southern resident.
The whale was discovered in Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation Territory and about 60 of the Nation’s members participated in a ceremony to “allow the spirit of the whale to go home,” on Thursday morning according to Mowachaht/Muchalaht administrator Kevin Kowalchuk.
“Today’s ceremony showed the respect that the Mowachaht/Muchalaht people have for all living creatures,” the Nation said through a media release. “They are the keepers of the land and are the best managers of the resources in their Territory, whether they be on land or in the waters.”
Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation Chief Mike Maquinna has asked DFO for a report on the whale’s cause of death.
“This is very concerning to our people,” Maquinna said through the release. “We ask DFO to report back to us as to the cause of death of this young whale so that we can understand what is happening in our waters.”
The whale is expected to be transported to the provincial animal health care centre in Abbotsford to determine a cause of death.