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The whale found dead on Long Beach Island in NJ suffered blunt force trauma and was only 1 year old

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The A beached humpback whale was found dead early Thursday morning on Long Beach Island in New Jersey It was a 1-year-old male who suffered blunt force trauma, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center said Friday.

The 25-foot whale was found in the surf near 51st Street in Long Beach Township, New Jersey. The MMSC worked with Long Beach Township police and public works to retrieve the whale from the rough surf to the beach and later transport it for an autopsy with assistance from Sea Turtle Recovery.

The necropsy revealed injuries likely resulting from the blunt trauma, including bruising and a hematoma to the head, multiple skull and cervical vertebral fractures, and internal organ damage.

The whale also had scars from being entangled in something, but that incident had nothing to do with the whale washing ashore.

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“Our entire team is always deeply saddened by every deceased animal we investigate, but those hit hardest are animals like this young whale that was never given the opportunity to contribute to its species,” the MMSC said in a Facebook post -message.

All humpback whales were once considered an endangered species, but the species was later divided into 14 population subgroups of varying status on the endangered species list.

The North Atlantic population of humpback whales is not considered endangered, but other populations such as in the western North Pacific Ocean are.

The MMSC did not specify what caused the blunt force trauma. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes that the main threats humpback whales face in the wild are being struck by a ship or other marine vessel, causing them to become entangled in fishing gear and ocean noise.

The whale deaths come at a time of increased whale strandings in the eastern US

The death of a whale found on a Long Beach Township beach comes amid an unusual rise in the number of victims dead humpback whales along the east coastaccording to NOAA.

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The “unusual mortality event” has been observed since 2016 and stretches from Maine to Florida.

Eight humpback whales were found dead in New Jersey in 2023, and Thursday’s whale is the state’s first death this year, according to NOAA data.

NOAA says boaters should be careful around feeding humpback whales, which may work together to move fish from the ocean to the surface.

NOAA also says boats should stay at least 100 feet away from whales at all times and also follow guidelines for safe viewing of marine life.

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