Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Humpback Whale Washes up on our Beach!

I was watching the news last Tuesday and they reported that a Humpbacked Whale had washed up on Kure Beach one block down from where I live so I hurried out with camera in hand and walked down to the access point.  There were about 50 people already there watching them do the necropsy on the whale.  It was a juvenile male in very bad condition that had died (they think from lots of parasites but all the evidence isn't in yet) and then washed up on the beach.  It was small at 25 feet long and 15,000 pounds!!  By the time I got there, they were well into the necropsy.  Here you can see the tail that they had just cut off and get an idea of the size.

The woman pictured above from the local aquarium (about 1 1/2 down the road) readily answered any questions you might have -- they had cordoned off the area to keep visitors at a distance.

This is looking at the  head region and the balene (which is how they eat).  All the fuzz are tubercles.  

It is well dissected here and they were taking parts back to the laboratory at UNCW and were sending parts out to the University of California as well.  Shortly after this photo was taken, they dipped the tail in the water to get all the sand off.  The heavy equipment was borrowed from the beach renourishment project they were doing further north in Kure.  It was a once in a lifetime experience and hope they learn something to save future whales from the same bad fortune.

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