How a DVD Case Killed a Whale
The number of whales and dolphins harmed by floating marine debris seems to be on the rise.
In August of 2014, biologists from the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center Stranding Response Team were notified of an unusual sighting in the Elizabeth River, a busy, industrial tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. A 45-foot-long young female sei whale was spotted swimming up the river, far from the deep waters of the Atlantic where the species, listed as endangered, is normally found.
"She was in the wrong place at the wrong time," says the aquarium's research coordinator Susan Barco.
The whale seemed disoriented. Barco and her colleagues followed it for several days in an attempt to protect it from a fatal collision with a ship. Despite these efforts, the whale was found dead a few days later.