HomeNational Animal News'Tenacity & Tragedy' Whale With Broken Spine Makes Her Final 3,000 Mile...

‘Tenacity & Tragedy’ Whale With Broken Spine Makes Her Final 3,000 Mile Journey

A grievously injured humpback whale has displayed incredible tenacity – completing a 3,000 mile journey from British Columbia, Canada, to Maui, Hawaii. Her name is Moon and she was struck by a ship that broke her spine, leaving a twisted body with a distinctive “S-Shape” along her back.

On December 7 the non-profit organization, BC Whales, alerted the public about Moon’s tragic plight:

On September 7, a lone Humpback Whale travelled past the Fin Island Research Station, operated by BC Whales, WWF-Canada and the Gitga’at Oceans and Lands Department. As our drone hovered overhead we immediately recognized that this whale had been struck by a vessel due to the unnatural ‘S’ bend in the spine from the dorsal fin to her fluke.

On December 1, the Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) documented the presence of a whale with a severely deformed spine off the coast of Maui. BCWhales said:

When the images were shared with us, we knew immediately that this was the same whale – now over 3,000 miles away. It was confirmed soon afterward, it was Moon.

Describing the pain that Moon was undoubtedly in as she make the arduous trek across the Pacific Ocean:

The harrowing images of her twisted body stirred us all. She was likely in considerable pain yet she migrated thousands of miles without being able to propel herself with her tail. Her journey left her completely emaciated and covered in whale lice as testament to her severely depreciated condition.

And relaying the heartbreaking reality that this journey will be Moon’s last:

We have known Moon for many years. We were thrilled to see her passing on the tradition of migrating between feeding and breeding grounds to her calf in 2020. In her current condition, she will not survive to make the return journey. We will never truly understand the strength it took for Moon to take on what is regrettably her last journey, but it is on us to respect such tenacity within another species and recognize that vessel strikes lead to a devastating end.

The organization implored the operators of all vessels, large and small, to be vigilant and slow down.

To reduce vessel strikes we encourage all boaters to be aware of their local laws and best practices. For Canadian mariners, we urge you to familiarize yourself with the information available at www.seeablowgoslow.org and to report any witnessed incidences of concern surrounding ship strikes or entanglement to the DFO Incident Reporting Line at 1-800-465- 4336, DFO.ORR-ONS.MPO@dfompo.gc.ca, or on VHF Channel 16

CBS News reports that Professional diver Kayleigh Nicole Grant encountered Moon off the coast of Maui and noted that sharks are following her as her health continues to deteriorate. And in a touching show of compassion, another whale has been observed accompanying Moon as she completes her final journey.

Follow BCWhales on Facebook here.



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  1. I’m so humbled by her courage and strength. I wish something could be done to alleviate her suffering and to assist her in her final journey. Something as simple as cleaning the lice off of her, or providing protection from the sharks – anything to honor her life and recognize the struggles she has endured. How much more human she and her species are than many, many “humans” in our world.


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