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Earlier this week a Bryde’s whale was found beached on a small island in Everglades National Park. Bryde’s whales are extremely rare, so scientists were eager to examine the body. It was sad to see the whale dead, but scientists agreed that it will still be valuable to research efforts.
According to Blair Mase-Guthrie, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “This animal is a very important specimen. There’s thought to be less than 100 in the Gulf of Mexico, and it’s the only whale that lives year-round in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s that valuable, this specimen. While it’s very sad that it’s dead it’s still a lot of value to us.”
Park officials towed the whale back to Flamingo boat ramp where biologists were waiting to perform a necropsy. After taking samples, the biologists buried the body near the boat ramp. After several months, they will return to the area and dig up the bones. After being cleaned by natural decomposition, the bones will be taken to the Smithsonian for further study.
Bryde’s whales have many information gaps that scientists are hoping to fill. The whales are only found in tropical and subtropical waters. Some live in the Gulf of Mexico year-round, while others migrate further south. The population in the Gulf of Mexico is considered endangered, so any additional information about these animals is priceless.
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