One-year-old humpback whale dies from trauma in US waters

One-year-old humpback whale dies from trauma in US waters

A young male humpback whale has died due to blunt force trauma, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC) said.

On Thursday, the animal was found washed ashore on a New Jersey beach in the United States. MMSC received a call about the deceased whale at 6:45 am. By afternoon, the whale was relocated to a local facility, where MMSC and Sea Turtle Recovery examined him.

The juvenile male whale, over one-year-old, measured 24 feet 10 inches in length. The examination revealed multiple injuries: bruising around the head, multiple fractures of the skull and spine, numerous dislocated ribs, and a dislocated scapula. 

All injuries are consistent with blunt force trauma, MMSC stated in a Facebook post.

Most of the whale’s major internal organs were liquified, with only the heart remaining identifiable. There were also scars from a previous entanglement around his fins.

The findings suggest the whale likely suffered from a collision, possibly with a vessel.

Samples from the autopsy have been sent for further pathological analysis, with results expected to provide additional insights into the health and environmental factors contributing to the whale’s death.

In 2023, New Jersey recorded 14 similar whale fatalities, sparking concern among conservationists and local authorities. 

Humpback whales in the US

Humpback whales are large marine mammals known for their impressive size, reaching up to 52 feet in length and weighing about 30 tons.

They have long pectoral fins and distinctive body markings, making them one of the most recognizable whale species.

Humpback whales are found in oceans and seas around the globe. In the US, they’re seen along the coasts of Alaska, Hawaii, and the Eastern Seaboard. 

They migrate through US waters as they travel between their feeding grounds in the colder regions, like Alaska, and their breeding grounds in tropical or subtropical waters, such as those around Hawai.

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