A whale with a missing fluke, possibly due to an accident involving fishing gear, has figured out how to keep swimming.
A whale off the coast of California was spotted with a missing fluke. When the whale breaches, then dives back under, you expect the iconic whale tail to rise up out of the water. But unfortunately this one is missing his.
The whale’s amputated fluke is a tragic sight and is believed to have been caused by fishing gear. If the tail had been wrapped in a net or fishing line it would have cut off blood supply to the tail, causing it eventually to die and fall off. According to scientific oceanic research, it is estimated that entanglement kills almost 1,000 dolphins or whales every day.
This particular whale is a gray whale that was most likely migrating to Baja, California to mate and have calves. Gray whales have the longest migration of any mammal, traveling up to 12,000 miles from north to south each year.
The whale seems to use the sides of his peduncle (tail) to propel and thrust himself while swimming. It dives sharply and corkscrews its body to use the widest surface area of the missing tail. It may have severe back issues due to this swimming process, yet it is believed that it still makes the migration.
This video was taken by Captain Dave who formed the first whale disentanglement group in Orange County, California. He has saved countless dolphins and whales and owns a dolphin and whale watching company, Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari