CP/Darryl Dyck People surround a beached whale that died during low tide in White Rock, B.C., on Tuesday, June 12, 2012.

VANCOUVER – Preliminary results from a necropsy on a young humpback whale confirm the creature likely died a slow death from starvation after being entangled in fishing gear.

Veterinary pathologist Stephen Raverty with the ministry of agriculture’s Animal Health Centre in Abbotsford, B.C., says ropes had obviously been buried deep in the whale’s mouth.

He says the gear had been removed by the time the necropsy was carried out, but gouges on the whale’s body revealed how it had been entangled, and also suggest it had developed secondary infections from the injuries.

Raverty expects more tests will be done later this week but says the roughly eight-metre-long whale had no diseases or viruses when it beached itself and died on the tidal mud flats of White Rock beach, south of Vancouver, early on June 12.

Fisheries experts are working to identify the emaciated juvenile from the patterns on its tail flukes, in hopes of determining where it came from.

Teams are also trying to track the origin of the fishing gear that snared the humpback, which is listed as threatened under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. (News1130)

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