Injured Whale Makes Long Journey
Image courtesy of Pacific Whale Foundation/PacificWhale.org
Each year, humpback whales migrate from the frigid waters near Alaska and western Canada to the warm waters of Mexico and Hawaii to breed and give birth. At the end of 2022, an extraordinary whale named Moon made the 3,100-mile journey from British Columbia to Hawaii with a broken back. The Canadian researchers that have been tracking Moon for the past decade discovered that the entire lower portion of her tail was bent into an unnatural “S” shape, presumably as a result of a boat strike.
Researchers speculate the whale made the arduous journey without the use of her tail, essentially using the breaststroke to make her migration. The journey left Moon emaciated when she reached Hawaii, having used up her fat stores and with no hope of recovery given the scarce food resources in the tropical waters. Moon’s story serves as a cautionary tale for the devastating effects of ship collisions with whales. Boaters are reminded to treat whale areas like school zones and slow down to keep marine creatures safe.