The necropsy results on J32 a.k.a. Rhapsody, the 19-year-old pregnant killer whale whose body was spotted off-shore and towed to Bates Beach, are official.
The following is an excerpt of a press release from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
“Necropsy results confirm that J32 was pregnant with a near full-erm female calf. The examination indicates that the cause of death was a result of in utero fetal loss with secondary bacterial involvement (endometritis), and eventually maternal septicemia; meaning the fetus caused an infection that became systemic, and ultimately fatal to J32.
“Tissue samples from the necropsy will be sent to eight different reference laboratories across Canada and the United States for further investigations, and a final report will be posted on the DFO website in the spring of 2015.
“Fisheries and Oceans Canada would like to acknowledge the First Nations community for their ceremonial offering before the necropsy on the deceased killer whale, and acknowledge the efforts and collaboration from the BC Ministry of Agriculture (and in particular, Dr. Stephen Raverty, Veterinary Pathologist who performed the necropsy exam), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Whale Museum in Friday Harbour, Washington, the Vancouver Aquarium, and the University of British Columbia.