On Saturday, another dead humpback whale washed ashore in New Jersey around 8 am. Sheila Dean, co-director of The Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine said that “We can’t see any visible signs that it was hit by anything.” Her team took fat and muscle samples to determine the cause of death. Dean said that we will not know the results for months. The whale was moved from the shoreline closer to the boardwalk, where it was buried after the necropsy.
Before this whale, another 30-foot dead humpback whale washed ashore on December twenty-third near Chelsea Avenue. And before that, on December eleventh, another whale was found dead. The first whale was breached on December fifth and was a 12-foot sperm whale. The sperm whale was young, probably around ten years old. So why do we see so many dead whales wash ashore in New Jersey, New York, and Virginia?
At this time, no foul play is seen in the last whale. Some speculate that the whales wash ashore due to disease, while others blame offshore wind turbine farms. Protect Our Coast NJ believes this is the issue and says that “whales, offshore wind surveying and ocean turbines do not coexist well.”
Sheila Dean does not want to put the blame on anyone and will wait for the results of the necropsy to know more. She hopes that this is the last whale that washes ashore. She goes on to say that if people see a breached whale, leave it alone and not try to push it back into the water. If the whale is breached, there is a good reason for it. The best thing to do is wait for the authorities to do the humane thing and euthanize it. Pushing whales back into the ocean can lead to more stress and harm to the animal. The least we can do is give them a less brutal and traumatic last few minutes of life.