Bowhead washes ashore near Kugaaruk

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A dead bowhead whale came ashore approximately 80 km from Kugaaruk recently.

It was approximately 40-feet in length.

A bowhead whale like this one, but approximately 40-feet in length, was found dead on shore about 80 km from Kugaaruk earlier this month.
Kate Stafford/Wikimedia Commons photo

“Nobody went down to check and see why that bowhead was found dead,” said Raymond Kayasark, chair of the Kurtairujuark Hunters and Trappers Association in Kugaaruk. “Ice is forming already so I don’t think they’ll go down with a boat.”

A spokesperson for Fisheries and Oceans Canada said the federal department became aware of the whale through social media posts earlier this month. Fisheries and Oceans staff have since contacted the Kitikmeot Regional Wildlife Board to determine the feasibility of a site visit to collect biological samples and additional information for investigation, the department stated in an email to Nunavut News.

Kayasark said he’d previously heard of a bowhead washing up on shore around 10 years ago but acknowledged that it’s a rare occurrence.

Although polar bears were feasting on the latest carcass, the meat of a discovered dead animal is too risky for human consumption because it could be rotten, Kayasark noted.