Curro - a recently injured Pilot Whale

by firmm Team

Jörn Selling / firmm

On May 23rd we made a sad discovery. We sighted a large male Pilot Whale that had an incision across his ridge in front of the dorsal fin. The incision was 15cm deep and probably stopped just before the spine, the fringes (skin and adipose tissue) were still bloody red. The muscular tissue was covered by collagen fibres which show the first phase of the healing process. From the top of the ship I could see deep inside the wound where it was also bloody. The accident probably occurred between the 18th and the 21st of May. At this point it is questionable whether the animal will survive. I hope it will, so it could become a symbol for the whale watchers.

Curro all

I point out the whale watchers because in my opinion they could be the ones to blame. The incision could have originated from a propeller and because of the size of the wound, presumably from a bigger ship. It is safe to assume the animal was probably resting under a ship with a stationary propeller and got injured when it was suddenly turned on.

The fishermen that cross the groups of whales when they are hunting for tuna are not likely suspects because they usually do not fish these waters until June. Furthermore they don't stop, but tug the fishing lines with the hooks dragging behind. During the month of May there are only whale watchers and the usual cargo ships and ferries - no fishermen. It's also the whale watchers who most frequently have their propellers turned off next to the whales. So they can't be excluded. Moreover I have seen numerous whale watchers suddenly take off when they sighted a Sperm whale, without checking whether there were animals under the propeller. This happens most often with the big boats, where you can't see the animals under the boat from the bridge.
We spotted "Curro" (that's how we called him) again on the 24th of May and have never seen him again…

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