This rare to Newfoundland waters Cuvier’s beaked whale was discovered in Lumsden on July 24.

This rare to Newfoundland waters Cuvier’s beaked whale was discovered in Lumsden on July 24.
Whale rare to Newfoundland waters, says Wayne Ledwell of Whale Rescue and Strandings

A whale rare to Newfoundland waters is drawing a lot of attention in Lumsden.

Jeremy Humphries and his wife Jenna came across what has since been identified as a Cuvier's beaked whale Tuesday afternoon (July 24) at approximately 3:30 p.m., while on an ATV ride along Lumsden's south beach.

It wasn't alive at the time of the discovery.

"It didn't look like it was there very long," said Humphries, noting it was his first encounter with a beached whale. "There were no gulls or anything in the area which there normally would be when something dead washed ashore. The tail of the whale looked red and rubbed out, other than that it looked perfectly fine."

Humphries said an attempt to move it back into the ocean was made, as it's in the middle of town - approximately one-kilometre from the nearest homes - and there was a fear the summer heat and a rotting carcass would create a mess and a terrible smell. However, the attempt was unsuccessful and people have been gathering to catch a glimpse of the beaked mammal.

Wayne Ledwell with Whale Release and Strandings Newfoundland and Labrador called it a significant find, noting it's a whale not typically seen by the public because the species is often found offshore.

"It's a deep diving beaked whale, they are found outside of the continental slope and they generally don't come this far north," Ledwell said, adding that the squid-eating species usually hangs around in water temperatures of 10 degrees Celsius.

"It's one of these one-offs, where a whale comes into our waters for whatever reasons."

Ledwell thinks the whale was still alive when it beached because it was still fresh upon discovery.

He couldn't say if the beaching was an indication of sickness.

"It's very difficult to tell how they died for the most part, unless there are some obvious signs of ship strike or predation, like a killer whale, or net entanglement," he said.

To get a better sense of what happened, Ledwell and his team were on route to Lumsden July 25 to inspect the remains.

His team will take the whale's measurements, examine stomach contents and organs, and may even look at extracting the carcass.