Philadelphia/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 12, 2024
Young Humpback Whale Found Dead Off Long Beach Island Suffered Blunt Force InjuriesSource: Facebook / Marine Mammal Stranding Center

Tragedy struck the shores of Long Beach Island when a male humpback whale, just over a year old was found dead, having suffered severe injuries. Authorities say the juvenile whale, which measured nearly 25 feet, washed up near 51st Street in Long Beach Township. The grim discovery early Thursday prompted a necropsy by the Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC), it was revealed on Friday that the creature had endured blunt force trauma, resulting in a hematoma on the head, multiple skull and neck fractures, and damage to internal organs as stated by CBS News Philadelphia.

The situation presented logistical challenges for the township officials, who had to haul the whale from the surf and transport the carcass to the Department of Public Works facility for examination. Once the necropsy was complete, the whale's remains were buried on site – a standard procedure as the responsibility of final disposal falls to the property owner, noted.

Amidst the investigation into the whale's death, concerns regarding the region's growing offshore wind development arise. Leading Light Wind, endeavoring to construct a project around 40 miles off Long Beach Island, emphasized their commitment to protecting marine life — "Minimizing impacts to the marine environment is of the utmost importance to Leading Light Wind," officials voiced in reassurance. The company points to efforts such as issuing notices about survey activities, engaging maritime stakeholders, and investing in monitoring, and mitigation initiatives to prevent any harm to the ocean's inhabitants, as reported by ABC News.

The examination also unearthed scars indicative of past struggles—the whale bore marks from previous entanglement in fishing gear, though no such gear was found at the time of the stranding. These scars adorned the peduncle, the tail, and the right pectoral flipper. The evidence of past entanglements paints a broader picture of the peril these gentle giants face in our oceans, and while unrelated to the immediate cause of death, it suggests a history of human impacts on this young whale's life.