The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : 33 Foot Long Humpback Whale Found Dead on New Jersey Beach

Saturday, September 17, 2016

33 Foot Long Humpback Whale Found Dead on New Jersey Beach

Sea Isle City, New Jersey - Bob Schoelkopf, founder of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, said it was a young male, about 33 feet long, and probably weighs about 20 tons. There were no visible signs of injury or trauma.

Schoelkopf said one or two whales beach themselves along the Jersey coast each year; this is the second of 2016.

The whale was first spotted before noon, floating offshore around Ocean City.  It eventually washed onto the beach at Sea Isle near 20th Street around 2 p.m.

A crowd of about 100 people had gathered on the beach behind yellow police tape, braving the overwhelming stench to get a glimpse of it.

"It’s sad to see such a beautiful animal dead on the beach like this," said Ann Heffer, a vacationer from Exton, Pa.  "I’m glad this doesn’t happen every day."

Officials with the Stranding Center and the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife were on the scene, said Sea Isle City spokeswoman Katherine Custer.

A necropsy will be performed on the beach Saturday morning to learn how it died. Until then, officials brought in heavy machinery to draw the body further up the beach and away from waves that could drag it out to sea again.

A heavy-duty chain tied around its tail snapped under the weight of the animal. Crews had to shorten the length of the chain and add a second, canvas strap to successfully drag it up the beach.  No one was injured when the chain snapped.

The necropsy should take about eight hours, Schoelkopf said.

Humpbacks can live up to 50 years, Schoelkopf said, but this one was a juvenile.


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