As scientists showed up to perform a necropsy on a pregnant killer whale that had washed up on Vancouver Island, they were dismayed to discover that an unknown souvenir hunter had made off with some of the whale’s teeth.
“Someone last night, selfishly, cruelly, illegally cut off several teeth from her. It’s a crime that can’t be described. It’s a crime against science,” Marcie Callewaert of the Victoria Marine Science Association told CTV Vancouver Island on Saturday.
Known as J32, the young female was towed to a rocky beach last week after being discovered floating dead in the waters near Courtenay, B.C.
/ FacebookScientists measure the young orca known as J32.
On Saturday, researchers performed the labour-intensive task of dismantling the enormous mammal’s body to find out what killed her. In the process, they found that seven teeth were missing from J32’s upper jaw.
Although the Victoria Marine Science Association claimed on their Facebook page that the tooth-sawing was a violation of the United States’ Marine Mammal Protection Act, taking teeth from dead orcas may not necessarily be illegal.
Canada’s Marine Mammal Regulations make no mention of a ban on removing the non-edible parts of an already-deceased whale.
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