New Jersey

Searching for Answers After Humpback Whale Washes Ashore in Delaware

Juvenile humpback whale washes ashore dead in Delaware

What to Know

  • Scientists are trying to determine what killed the juvenile female humpback whale that washed ashore in Delaware.
  • The whale was first spotted in Cape May, New Jersey, on Saturday, before it washed ashore at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes on Sunday.
  • Suzanne Thurman with the MERR Institute is the sixth whale to wash ashore in Delaware since 2016.

UPDATE: A boat strike is being blamed for the whale's death.

Scientists are trying to determine what killed the juvenile female humpback whale that washed ashore over the weekend in Delaware.

Suzanne Thurman with the Marine Education, Rehabilitation and Research (MERR) Institute tells news outlets the whale is the sixth to wash ashore in Delaware since 2016. The whale was first spotted in Cape May, New Jersey, on Saturday, before it washed ashore at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, Delaware, on Sunday.

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Thurman says the 36-foot-long whale was hit by a boat and scavenged by sharks. It's unclear whether the former happened before or after the whale died. Thurman says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said humpback whales are dying at an unusual rate on the East Coast.

The whale was hauled to higher ground on Monday, and a preliminary necropsy was conducted.

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