Featured Image Credit: abc.net.au
Injured and separated from its mother after what’s believed to have been only one or two days of life, a newborn humpback whale was recently euthanized in Australia.
It’s believed that the whale was hit by a boat or jet-skier, causing it to become disoriented and eventually separated from its mother, ending up beached on South Stradbroke Island.
There were several attempts made, according to responders, to find the calf’s mother, but the endeavor was unsuccessful in the end. Calves, especially this early, depend greatly on their mothers. Needing up to 600 liters of milk a day, and guidance that only a mother whale can teach, on how to migrate, feed, defend itself, and generally survive in the ocean.
Unfortunately, although captivity was considered, it would have been impossible. The resources to feed it would have been extreme, and once taken out of the ocean, it’s likely that it would have never seen its own habitat again.
Humpbacks are rated on an area of Least Concern by the IUCN Red List, and it’s reported that almost 30,000 whales will migrate past the Gold Coast this season, but for this young whale, euthanasia was the best option. And it was also the most humane option, as the infant whale would have starved or become bait for predators by staying alone in the ocean.