New Jersey

Boat Strike Likely Killed Humpback Whale That Washed Ashore in Delaware

The strike dislodged and broke the whale's cervical vertebrae.

What to Know

  • A humpback whale that washed ashore in Delaware likely died from a boat strike that dislodged and broke the whale's cervical vertebrae.
  • The juvenile whale washed ashore at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes on Sunday. Its carcass was buried there after samples were taken.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says humpback whales are dying at an unusual rate on the East Coast.

The director of a marine research institute says the juvenile female humpback whale that washed ashore in Delaware was likely killed by a boat strike.

Suzanne Thurman with the Marine Education, Rehabilitation and Research Institute tells news outlets blunt-force trauma was identified as the cause of death. The strike dislodged and broke the whale's cervical vertebrae.

A necropsy was conducted Monday, a day after the whale washed ashore at Cape Henlopen State Park. The carcass was buried at the beach after samples were collected.

The 36-foot-long was first spotted off Cape May, New Jersey, on Saturday.

Thurman says some samples will be shared with the Smithsonian Institute for genetic testing.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says humpback whales are dying at an unusual rate on the East Coast.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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