Large Whale Workshop...what's that smell?



Okay enough with the giant letters, I think I made my point. (If you are just jumping in on this blog, click here and here to catch up. But in short, Adam and I attended a large whale workshop at the NERS (Northeast Region Stranding Network) conference.) Keep in mind that this workshop focused on large whales found deceased floating at sea or found dead on the beach. Live large whale response was covered at a separate workshop at a different meeting.

The workshop was hosted by Susan Barco from the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Program and Bill McLellan from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Sue and Bill have years of experience performing detailed dissections on large whales and shared their knowledge with the group. Tricks of the trade included the best type of heavy machinery to move these mammoth animals, safety of the dissection (necropsy) team, tissue examinations, sample collection, sample preservation and much much more.

Below Sue and Bill answer questions from the workshop participants.

After a short coffee break, sponsored by those nice folks at the College of the Atlantic, the workshop continued with several case studies from other network members. Once the case studies were presented a group discussion followed which generated some excellent dialog and great ideas.

In the photo below Dr. Cindy Driscoll (doctor of veterinary medicine) reports on the case of a difficult large whale event in her region. Apparently a ship came to port with a dead whale strapped to the bulb on the front of the freighter. Dr. Driscoll shared with the group the challenges she faced, her problem solving techniques and her follow through plan.

In the photo below, the presenters gather at the front for the discussion phase of the workshop. These cases studies were an excellent vehicle for the information and to generate thought among all who attended. The discussion was dynamic and energetic. As a matter of fact we got so caught up we exceeded the end of the workshop by an hour.

This was an important conference with interesting, informative and motivating workshops. We had a lot of participation from locals, in particular students from the College of the Atlantic. The mix of participants added to the experience. I am looking forward to next year's meeting already!

- Connie

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