A humpback whale recently photographed in the ocean surrounding New Zealand has something peculiar about it – the tail fins are missing from its tail!
The first thing that comes to my mind is: "Ouch! That had to hurt!"
The interesting part about the whole scenario is despite missing its two tail fins, the whale seems to be going about life normally, and is still swimming fine and jumping out of the water just how whales like to.
Experts believe that the injury may have been related to fishing nets or boat propellers, although without a closer examination of the whale’s tail, there’s not a whole lot that can be done apart from speculate from the photographs.
A closer examination may provide clues – shearing patterns, depending on how rough or smooth, may provide details on how sharp the cutting tool was, which would help experts decipher between a propeller blade or something else.
"It appeared to be in good health and it's bending in the water and using its pectoral fins to spin around," Department of Conservation ranger Mike Morrissey said to the BBC. “It could have been the result of entanglement.”
As it would appear, the whale is still at a young age and has already healed up most of the damage. From the photographs, it is clear the wounds are no longer open, which is a great thing to see.
Researchers wish to track and monitor the animal to ensure that it’s doing okay, so local officials are urging anyone who sees it again to contact the Department of Preservation. It’s believed that during its migration, it’ll return to the same place as it was spotted last month.
Whale injuries can be a common thing, but the fortunate side of things with this particular case is that it doesn’t look like it’s going to be lethal. Hopefully however, the injury doesn’t impact the whale’s lifestyle in any way in the future.