Evaluation of Propeller Strike on Right Whale 2425 off Cumberland Island, Georgia on 10 March 2005
Necropsy Field Number: Living Animal
James L. Wood
P. O. Box 510129
Melbourne Beach, FL 32951
The author has developed a set of methods and computational tools which will allow researchers to use photographs of propeller cuts on marine mammals to determine the physical characteristics of the vessel that created the cuts and to provide insight into the response of the animal during and possible immediately before the accident. The propeller strike on right whale 2425 presented a unique opportunity to perform a blind test of the application of these new methods using photographs of propeller cuts on a living animal. The operator of the vessel immediately reported the accident to authorities and the details of the vessel and its operation during the accident were documented. Photographs of the resulting propeller cuts were provided to the author, but details regarding the vessel were withheld until the evaluation was complete. This allowed the author to demonstrate the range of information that can be revealed through the application of these techniques on photographs of cuts on living animals and then to check the findings against the documented facts. Though a detailed explanation of the methods employed is beyond the scope of this evaluation, the results of this evaluation provide an insight into the capabilities of these new methods of analysis.
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