Dead whale washes ashore on Mississippi beach
The endangered species is now being examined by several scientists from federal and state agencies, including the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Mote Marine Laboratory, FWC Marine Mammal Research and Rescue, and many more.
Crews arrived early to start collecting samples that will determine the cause of death, WLOX reported.
“We are doing an external review of the animal, but we will also be looking internally at all the organs and collecting samples to send them off for testing,” Institute for Marine Mammal Studies stranding coordinator Theresa Madrigal said.
On Monday morning, crews finished removing the remains of the mammal after scientists completed their on-site work.
There’s no clear answer on what caused the whale to wash ashore, but scientists believe it has to do with health problems.
“These animals are very deep dwellers. They are going to stay offshore for the most part, so when they come inshore, typically they are very sick. It’s likely this animal was sick and started to come into the Mississippi Sound,” Madrigal said.
In the past, only three fin whales have been stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. This is the first time one has been stranded on the Mississippi coast. The sighting is extremely rare, and people like Michael O’Dwyer were shocked to hear the news.
“I thought that I would just come and observe what’s going on. It’s unusual that we see them on the beach. We see porpoises quite often. Not too often do we see whales here,” O’Dwyer said.
Scientists will continue to conduct research in Pass Christian. The cause of death will be determined once they receive lab results.
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