August 20, 2002

Echo was last sighted by an equipment operator at the Codroy wharf at approximately 7 a.m.on August 14. Since Echo was known to disappear from the area for periods of up to three days, Director of Animal Care at Dalhousie University, Dr. Chris Harvey-Clark, chose to carry through with his travel plans and arrived in Codroy, Newfoundland on August 16, 2002. 

Dr. Harvey-Clark has remained in the area for a total of five days during which time every effort has been made to locate the beluga whale. Whale Stewardship Project (WSP) co-founders, CatherineKinsman and Ken Petersen, conducted a search for Echo by boat on August 16, 2002 and the following day scoured the coast from Codroy south to Port-Aux-Basques. Dr. Harvey-Clark and his partner joined the land-based search, tracing the coastline north from Codroy to the Port-Au-Port peninsula. On August 18, Cathy Kinsman did an aerial search with a flight instructor/search and rescue pilot from Atlantic Aviation in Stephenville. They combed the area from Stephenville to Port-Aux-Basques, but no sign of Echo. 

Echo's critically timed disappearance from Codroy Harbour is unfortunate in that the veterinary assessment of his injuries was not possible. However, in the whale's absence, video tape and photographic documentation taken by WSP personnel during the two weeks since Echo received the injuries, proved invaluable. Dr. Harvey-Clark's review of the images in which he compared pictures of the fresh injuries with images taken the night before the whale left, enabled him to determine that evidence of wound healing was present and that it was consistent with healing expected in a healthy animal. This evaluation gives us hope that Echo can and will survive.

There certainly may be more than one reason why Echo suddenly disappeared from the area where he had been resident for four months. However, the WSP believes the warm temperatures in the harbour to be the most plausible explanation. A local fisherman used his Global Positioning System to measure the temperature at the wharf the day before Echo left the area. The water temperature was 18°C  at a four foot depth which would be considered uncomfortably warm for a beluga whale for a prolonged period of time.

The WSP would like to thank the public for their support thus far and is asking for the public's continued co-operation in reporting sightings of the injured beluga so that WSP staff may continue to monitor and document Echo's condition and hopeful recovery.

Whale Stewardship Project

P.O. Box 36101

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Canada   B3J 3S9

1-902-889-2679

Email: wsp@eastlink.ca

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