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Finback Whale Found Dead In New York Harbor

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Researchers are still looking for answers after dissecting a 57 foot finback whale last week in New Jersey. The finback whale was discovered dead on April 12, 2014 in a New York harbor. The cause of death is still unknown to researchers from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, NJ who have been working the case of the estimated 55 to 60 ton finback whale. Workers found the whale stuck to the bow of a container ship in the harbor. From there it was later towed to an Army Corps of Engineers station in the nearby Liberty State Park.

A senior field technician at the stranding center, Jay Pagel, said that it is not uncommon for whales to find their way into the shipping lanes used by these large ships as they make their way up and down the eastern coast of the US. Though it is not common for them to stray all the way into the harbor itself. Pagel also stated that the last time an issue like this occurred was nearly 4 or 5 years ago. These large and majestic mammals can occasionally become lodged on the front of a container ship or any number of other bigger vessels due in large part to the way the bows are constructed.

The whale that was found on that chilly Saturday morning offered a unique chance for researchers to perform the necropsy on a mammal that was so well intact. Aside from a single deep indentation that was clearly visible on the underside of the whale’s jaw, the mammal looked to be in fine shape and eerily undisturbed. Pagel and others at the stranding center stated that when a whale does wash up like this they usually have been through much more damage, either from the sea vessels themselves or from sharks and other creatures. The necropsy being performed will consist of dissecting the whale and checking its vital organs. From this researchers can hopefully identify whether or not the finback whale died from complications before being struck by the container ship or if the vessel itself is responsible for the whale’s untimely demise.

The necropsy was believed to have been completed by the end of the day last Wednesday, April 16, 2014 but no further details as to the exact cause of the finback whale’s death have been released at this time.

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