When it comes to preserving life in our oceans, it would appear as though even our best efforts sometimes fall short. The Minke whale, which was located last night during the late afternoon hours, was believed to have been struck by a boats propellers. The damage that the boat did was more than the whale could withstand. Officials pointed out that while it wasn’t clear when the whale died, what was clear was that the fatal wounds it suffered at the hands of the boat likely cut the life of the whale short by possibly decades.
Minke whales are known for living at least three decades, and sometimes can live lives as long as five decades. Officials have said precisely how old the whale was, and onlookers were disappointed by what they saw. Reports indicated that the whale was between 18-20 feet long, and had one long cut running across its top.
Kim Durham, who is the program director for the Riverhead Foundation, led the team evaluating the accident and the whale. The team performed a necropsy on the whale late in the evening on Monday, and that section of beach remained closed throughout the entire period of discovery, and then study. The examination took hours, but the team made some conclusions that suggested the propeller of a boat was the cause of the whale’s death.
The top portion of the whale’s skull was entirely missing, and Durham believes that this was from the boat. While it’s unclear how the boat would have not noticed the whale is somewhat confusing to some people, the size of the boat likely would have had the most to do with it. A small boat would have had serious damage done to it by the whale, whereas a larger boat or ship would have not suffered any damage – or possibly even might have not noticed it.
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The team also noted that there were fish bones in the whale’s stomach. The whale was likely feeding on chum at the time of the accident, which left the whale washed up and dead just two days later.