Dead Whale Washes Ashore In DE Over Holiday Weekend - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Dead Whale Washes Ashore In DE Over Holiday Weekend

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DELAWARE - Officials say they are investigating how a unique whale died, and ended up washed up on a Delaware beach over the weekend. Officials with the Marine Education Research and Rehabilitation Institute say they were notified, by Delaware State Park rangers about a deceased pygmy sperm whale that had washed ashore on Sunday morning, between Conquest Road and the Life Saving Station.

The MERR Institute says they sent 10 volunteers to the scene, to guard the animal, inform the public, and determine the cause of death by performing a necropsy. The whale was reportedly a 10-foot, 800 pound, young adult male pygmy sperm whale, with no visible wounds.

MERR Executive Director Suzanne Thurman says "He appeared to be a fairly robust animal with what looked like might have been a previous entanglement around his tail. He did have a fairly heavy parasite load in his GI tract, which is indicative of poor health." The volunteers reportedly worked for eight hours on Monday performing a necropsy. Thurman says "When we send the samples to the labs, it might yield some more definitive information as to the cause of the whale's death."

The pygmy whale is one of three species of sperm whale that is found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, and they reportedly do not grow much larger than a dolphin. Anyone coming in contact with a stranded marine mammal or sea turtle should call the MERR hotline at 302.228.5029.

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