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Sad News—Poco Found Dead

November 15, 2004

The Whale Stewardship Project received word from the US National Marine Fisheries Service today that Poco was found stranded and dead this morning on a mud flat in South Portland Maine.

No sightings of the young beluga had been reported since the end of October.

The Stranding Network in New England reported there were no obvious signs of new injury to Poco and old wounds had healed well. Poco’s body will undergo a necropsy in the United States.  New details will be posted in future updates when they become available.

Message From the Project Director

It is with great sadness that I speak of the death of Poco to all of you who have been following his journey from Pocologan, New Brunswick, to Cape Cod Massachusetts and countless points in between.

Poco met up with so many humans in his travels. He found us—in boats of every kind, peering at him from wharves, in and around aquaculture pens, floating at the surface of the water as well as far below sporting strange gear that emitted bubbles. Bubbles he seemed to enjoy.

We do not yet know exactly how or why young Poco died, except to say that he was found stranded on a mudflat.  But we do know that Poco died alone, many hundreds of miles from “home” and pod. We do know that he died long before experiencing the natural life-span of a beluga whale in the wild—more than 30 years.

There are many questions raised by Poco’s life as a solitary sociable beluga whale and now by his death. There are no easy answers; but this does not mean we should abandon our efforts to seek them. Poco’s life and death like that of so many other whales and dolphins of the world must not be in vain. For this reason I have asked officials of both the Canadian and US work cooperatively to return Poco's bones to Canada. The intention would be to create an exhibit that honours Poco’s journey into the lives of humans, shows regard for him as an individual and by extension shines light on other solitary belugas (and other whales and dolphins) in the future as well as the endangered population he came from. With commitment and help there is so much his legacy can do. Thank you to all who have shown such compassion and support for Poco.


Catherine Kinsman

Project Director, Whale Stewardship Project

Whale Stewardship Project

P.O. Box 36101

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Canada   B3J 3S9



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