August 4, 2002

On the morning of July 31 two residents of Codroy, Newfoundland reported to the Whale Stewardship Project (WSP) that Echo may have been wounded. The beluga was not seen at the wharf again until August 1 at which time the WSP staff confirmed that Echo had been seriously injured. Project Director, Cathy Kinsman, flew immediately to Stephenville, Newfoundland and arrived in Codroy that evening to implement an emergency response program. 

Echo's wounds are believed to be the result of an unfortunate accident and not a deliberate attempt to harm the whale. During heavy fog, the beluga who was known to closely approach boats and their propellers, was struck by the blades of a large vessel in the dark, early morning hours of July 31, 2002. Echo sustained three severe gashes to his head and neck. One gash extends from the corner of his mouth on the left side of his head, through and beyond his left eye. It appears that the eye may be gone. Another of the deep lacerations has left a large open wound on his neck.  

Photographs of the injuries were taken soon after sunrise on August 2 and immediately sent via email to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, several marine mammal veterinarians and other experts including WSP Research Director, Dr. Toni Frohoff for assessment and consultation (the WSP warns readers that the photographs of Echo's wounds are graphic and viewer discretion is advised).

WSP staff are continuing a heightened program of monitoring Echo's behaviour and activity so as to assess his ability to eat. As of the date of this posting, Echo has not been observed to open his mouth. Project Director, Catherine Kinsman has begun working with Echo in order to facilitate an upcoming veterinary visiting which the whale will be assessed and treated, if neccessary.

The WSP is calling on the community of Codroy, including visitors and local fishermen, to help with Echo's recovery by refraining from any and all attempts to interact with the injured whale as all such uncontrolled interaction may jeopardize Echo's well-being. The WSP thanks the public for supporting this request.

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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Echo Severely Injured

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