Featured Image Credit: Shore Beach Service Facebook
By: Sarah Sharkey
On a beach in Hilton Head, South Carolina, two sperms whales washed up in January. The first was found earlier in the year and was deceased. The second was found towards the end of the month.
The whale was found by a resident who was walking his dog along the beach just before sunrise. As soon as he found the animal he called 911 for help.
A marine biologist arrived on the scene quickly to assess the situation. Amber Kuehn, the marine biologist, said the whale was alive when she arrived. She said, “ I sat with it a couple hours.” It was apparently too late to do anything but attempt to ease its suffering.
After the whale passed away, Kuehn performed an autopsy. Apparently, there were several bite marks from small sharks that appeared to be the cause of death. However, that remains to be confirmed by the necropsy lab. The lab was shut down due to the federal government shutdown so we may not have an answer for a while.
Kuehn mentioned that “ in this case, I think it was an older female because its teeth were worn down. There’s a possibility that it just died of old age.”
The whale’s body was buried on the beach.
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