Historical humpback whale and porpoise examined
62 dead seals, porpoises and whales were examined last year by the National Veterinary Institute (SVA). Among them were a humpback whale from the Baltic Sea and a small porpoise found west of Öland – two very unusual events.
“Both of these events are historic, something that is not common,” jasmine Stavenow, a marine biologist at SVA, said on the agency’s website.
It is the first time that a humpback whale has been found dead in the Baltic Sea, and virtually all porpoises examined by SVA are from the south or west coast.
“It is very likely that the Öland tumbler instead originated from the critically endangered Baltic sea population of porpoises, and therefore it is particularly important to collect samples and data from,” says Jasmine Stavenow.
The find of a northern beaked whale found at Skärhamn on the West Coast is also regarded by SVA as very remarkable.
It is reports from the public of dead, marine mammals that made the investigations possible. In animals with an unknown cause of death, the most common causes of death turned out to be illness or being taken as by-catch.
SVA investigates porpoises, other cetaceans and seals in collaboration with the Swedish Museum of Natural History, as part of the monitoring of animal health.