A plastic bag was reportedly found within the throat of a roughly 17-foot, endangered sei whale that lately washed up on a North Carolina seashore.
The whale was discovered on Sunday on Masonboro Island, WECT-6 reported. Officers with the College of North Carolina Wilmington’s Marine Mammal Stranding Program had been subsequently known as to the scene.
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Ann Pabst, a member of the Marine Mammal Stranding Program and professor of marine biology on the college, advised WECT-6 discovering a sei whale stranded in North Carolina is “uncommon.”
The ocean creature seemed to be unhealthy and underweight. Its obvious situation led officers with UNCW and an official with the Nationwide Oceanic Atmospheric Affiliation to resolve it could be most humane to euthanize the whale.
“This animal was very, very skinny. It wasn’t with its mother which it ought to have been. No meals within the abdomen, it was clear this animal hadn’t been consuming for some time,” Pabst advised the information station.
A necropsy, an animal post-mortem, carried out on the whale later revealed a plastic bag was lodged in its throat, WWAY Information reported, citing William McLellan, the coordinator of the stranding program.
“It wasn’t capable of get meals into the mouth so we aren’t fairly positive when that occurred,” McLellan mentioned, noting the necropsy revealed the whale additionally had seagrass in its throat. McLellan added the researchers have “collected a bunch of samples for viral evaluation and bacteriology” to review the case additional.
Whereas it’s not clear if the plastic was the reason for the sei whale’s dying, “it actually didn’t assist the animal in its debilitated state,” Pabst advised WECT-6.
Nature photographer Robbie Johnson took to Fb to share a video of the whale earlier than it was euthanized.
“Pressing. Assist wanted,” he captioned the video, which had greater than 37,000 views as of Thursday afternoon.
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“This isn’t a sight I wished to see on Masonboro,” Johnson says within the video.
Sei whales, that are listed as an endangered species, are identified for his or her velocity, in response to the World Wildlife Fund, which famous they will journey as much as 30 miles an hour. They weigh a mean of 20 tons and might develop as much as 66 toes in size.