[MARMAM] Right Whale Trauma Paper

Michael Moore mmoore at whoi.edu
Thu Sep 27 08:09:41 PDT 2012


The following paper is available early view in Marine Mammal Science:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1748-7692.2012.00591.x/abstract;jsessionid=3FA5B077778D75FCF1CF85EA735E8468.d01t04


Moore M, Andrews R, Austin T, Bailey J, Costidis A, George C, Jackson K, 
Pitchford T, Landry S, Ligon A, McLellan W, Morin D, Smith J, Rotstein 
D, Rowles T, Slay C, Walsh M (2012) Rope trauma, sedation, 
disentanglement, and monitoring-tag associated lesions in a terminally 
entangled North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). Marine 
Mammal Science

DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2012.00591.x
A chronically entangled North Atlantic right whale, with consequent 
emaciation
was sedated, disentangled to the extent possible, administered antibiotics,
and satellite tag tracked for six subsequent days. It was found dead 11 
d after the
tag ceased transmission. Chronic constrictive deep rope lacerations and 
emaciation
were found to be the proximate cause of death, which may have ultimately
involved shark predation. A broadhead cutter and a spring-loaded knife 
used for
disentanglement were found to induce moderate wounds to the skin and 
blubber.
The telemetry tag, with two barbed shafts partially penetrating the 
blubber was shed,
leaving barbs embedded with localized histological reaction. One of four
darts administered shed the barrel, but the needle was found postmortem 
in the
whale with an 80º bend at the blubber-muscle interface. This bend 
occurred due to
epaxial muscle movement relative to the overlying blubber, with 
resultant necrosis
and cavitation of underlying muscle. This suggests that rigid, implanted 
devices
that span the cetacean blubber muscle interface, where the muscle moves 
relative
to the blubber, could have secondary health impacts. Thus we encourage 
efforts to
develop new tag telemetry systems that do not penetrate the subdermal 
sheath,
but still remain attached for many months.

-- 
Michael Moore
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
508 289 3228

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