Dead orca was pregnant with full-term fetus

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Courtesy CHEK-TV

COURTENAY, British Columbia (AP) — The necropsy on the orca found dead off Vancouver Island showed it was pregnant with a full-term fetus.

Experts had speculated the death may have arisen from birth complications. Biologists have yet to determine the cause of death.

The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans also says someone removed several teeth from the dead killer whale before it could be examined. Pacific marine mammals coordinator Paul Cottrell says a couple of teeth were broken off and others were sawed off at the gum line. It’s illegal to possess part of an endangered animal.

The orca known as J-32 was found floating in the water Thursday near Courtenay. It was moved to a boat launch Friday for the necropsy.

The death leaves 77 animals in the Puget Sound orca population.


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