The Most Southerly Record of a Stranded Bowhead Whale, <i>Balaena mysticetus</i>, from the Western North Atlantic Ocean


  • Wayne Ledwell
  • Steven Benjamins
  • Jack Lawson
  • Julie Huntington



bowhead whale, stranding, Newfoundland, Labrador, spondylitis, vertebral injury


An immature female bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) was discovered stranded dead at Witless Bay Point, just south of Mobile Point (47°14' 68.00"N, 52°47' 90.00"W) on the southern shore of the Avalon Peninsula of the island of Newfoundland (Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada) on 15 April 2005. This is the second bowhead found stranded dead in Newfoundland in seven years. The first, also an immature female, was discovered in a fjord in northeastern Newfoundland near Rattling Brook (49°40' N, 56°10' W) in October 1998. These animals represent the only bowhead whales known to have been sighted, alive or stranded dead, in waters around the island of Newfoundland. Some possible causes of the death of this most recent animal are discussed, including chronic inflammation of the vertebrae and the associated locomotive difficulties.