A humpback whale, a large cetacean, used of the waters of the North Coast, approaches the island of Montreal, in southwestern Quebec, a situation never before seen, according to the Group of research and education on marine mammals (GREMM).
“This is a first to our knowledge”, was launched in interview to TVANouvelles.ca Marie-Eve Muller, GREMM, Friday.
The whale has been observed sporadically over the road into the river St. Lawrence, since Tuesday.
The marine mammal, whose age remains unknown for the moment, has from the first seen several times near the bridges of Quebec to 15: 30 Tuesday, according to Ms. Muller.
No new whale Wednesday during the day but in the evening he put on quite a show, at the height of Portneuf.
The whale has made several jumps in the water, “a sign he is in good health. He seemed in good shape and floated freely”, explained the head of communications.
The specimen has made its way to Trois-Rivières, where he was seen on Thursday. The whale seemed to be eating well and having a breath cycle, said “normal”.
Difficult to confirm 100 % that all observations relate to the same whale, but one suspects that this will always be the same,” said Ms. Muller.
Friday morning near Sorel-Tracy, Simon Ferland, a boater, saw the whales very close and has even managed to make a short video.
She seemed to be heading towards the island of Montreal.
Since river traffic is dense near the metropolis, fisheries officers patrolled to ensure that the vessels remain at a distance. Drivers of commercial vessels are also notified of the presence of the whale, and need to be vigilant.
Fresh water, a danger?
Accustomed to salt water, walk by the fresh water should not cause her any harm, at least in the short term. The whale could develop problems with hydration, skin problems, but only after several months, assured Ms Muller.
Impossible to know what explains such behavior in a cetacean, or venturing too far from its natural habitat. Often, young people will explore the water-courses, and then go back to the house. Young beluga whales have already been seen in Florida, according to the specialist.
“It was also a narwhal in the Saint-Laurent, usually they are in the arctic!”, gave the example of the spokesperson.
Nearly 500 individuals present in the river are well-known organizations in the monitoring and protection of marine mammals.
“We hope that she returns to the house. We can not go on the North Shore, but she came to visit us. It is really exceptional,” concluded the spokesperson.
Appeal to the population
Although boaters must respect a minimum distance of 100 meters with the whales on the water, the GREMM) invites the public to take images of the specimen in order to identify the best possible and do the follow-up to his state of health.
If you see the animal, the GREMM will prompt you to indicate the presence of the cetacean by phone to the emergency line 24 hours at 1 877 722 5346.