RIGA - A dead whale found in the Gulf of Riga on Friday had sustained lethal injuries from a heavy mechanical impact, most probably in collision with a ship, an expert said.
A post mortem carried out in the Latvian Agriculture University revealed splintered fractures of the jaw on the left side and neck vertebrae, said Arnolds Zilvinskis, the head of Jelgava branch of the Latvian Food and Veterinary Service.
Experts think the whale died two weeks ago. Even though the cause of death has been established, laboratory tests on different samples will be performed during the next two days. The body will be removed for disposal soon.
Because of the bone injuries, the Latvian Nature Musuem will not get a complete whale skeleton as it had hoped to. "The injuries were so heavy that it won't be possible to have a complete skeleton. The museum staff took as many bones as they could," said Zilinskis.
The Latvian coast guard spotted a huge dead animal in the Gulf of Riga near Dunte on the northeast Latvian coast and towed it ashore. Scientists identified it as a young humpback whale.
Whales are a rare sight in the Baltic Sea. The last recorded whale sighting near Latvia's coast was in August 1976, when a 14-meter fin whale washed ashore near Kauguri in the Gulf of Riga.