Fin whale stranded in Delaware Bay off of Lewes


LEWES, Del. – Rescuers are working to help a Fin whale from the bayside of the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park on Thursday. The MERR Institute says the whale was stranded on a sandbar. MERR responders and Delaware Natural Resources Police worked together to move the whale off the sandbar. MERR officials say the whale is now closer to shore, in shallower water.

Unfortunately, MERR officials say the whale being stuck in shallow waters is not a good sign. They say the whale seems to be struggling, and is in the process of beaching itself. Biologists are currently standing by to monitor the whale. Meanwhile, NOAA is working with stranding network partners to create a response plan. That could include palliative care, sedation, or euthanasia.

Right now, MERR officials are not sure what caused the whale to get stranded. But, they say when large whales come close to shore, it is usually because of injury or a disease. The team on site hasn’t identified any obvious injuries. MERR officials say, unfortunately, there isn’t much they can do to help save the whale. That’s because returning the whale to deeper water can be challenging under the best circumstances for animal of its size. MERR officials say that could prolong any suffering, and the whale would likely strand itself again.

MERR officials are asking the public to stay at least 150 feet away from the whale, including by vessel or drone. Fin whales are the second largest whales on after Blue whales. They are listed as endangered throughout their range, and are more commonly found in deep waters.

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