According to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), a young humpback whale has been severely injured after being struck in the head by a boat propeller off Dampier, Western Australia.
“Whales are very vulnerable to ship strike as they need to regularly surface to breathe, and this can put them in the direct path of a vessel, particularly in busy shipping lanes,” zoologist Graeme Shannon told Newsweek.
The expert points out that, despite their impressive size, they can be difficult to spot in open water, especially from the bridge of a large cargo ship, which can move comparatively fast. In addition, whales can cross entire oceans in some cases, which increases the likelihood of collisions with ships
DBCA and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) Fisheries staff monitored the whale for several hours. And, given the nature of the injury, the experts’ prognosis is not good: the animal’s chance of surviving is extremely low, and the most humane course of action is euthanasia.
However, the whale eventually swam away into deeper waters, and the experts were unable to locate it.