WILMINGTON, Del., March 23 (UPI) — Scientists conducting a necropsy on a 61-foot fin whale that washed ashore off the coast of Delaware say it may have collided with a ship.
The Coast Guard initially spotted the whale’s carcass about 4.5 miles from the Indian River Inlet. It drifted for days in the wind-blown currents before coming ashore at Fenwick Island Friday, The (Wilmington) News Journal reported.
“She did have some broken fragments in her skull,” said Suzanne Thurman, executive director of the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute. “She was most likely hit by a large vessel.”
“It was kind of a challenge,” Thurman said. “We were tracking it, but due to wind direction and surface currents, it made it hard to estimate where and if she was going to land.”
Volunteers working in shifts stood near the body answering questions from onlookers.
“It is always tragedy to see such a beautiful animal wash up on shore,” Thurman said. “The best we can do is to try to find out what happened to her. It’s physically grueling to deal with an animal this size and I can’t thank the volunteers enough who endure these weather conditions.”
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