Biologists Plan on Necropsy, Burial for Whale | Environment

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Biologists Plan on Necropsy, Burial for Whale
Biologists Plan on Necropsy, Burial for Whale

CRESCENT BEACH, Fla. -- A 2-year-old female right whale found dead in the water Tuesday has been dissected by a team of biologists and veterinarians, and its skeleton is now in its way to Georgia.  

The animal was pulled up onto Crescent Beach by a boat after a Florida Fish and Wildlife team spotted it about 12 nautical miles off of Palm Coast.

The whale is estimated to be about 30 feet long and 15,500 lbs. The same whale was found entangled in a net in mid-December and again in mid-January, said Karrie Carnes, spokesperson for NOAA.

"We know it traveled south almost  to Miami and back again," said Barb Zoodsma, a biologist on the team conducting the necropsy.

SLIDESHOW: WHALE ON THE BEACH

Scientists are trying to determine the cause of death to see if the entanglement contributed to its death.

"If we determine that entanglement was the cause of death for this animal, then what do we need to do to avoid this type of thing in the future. Quite frankly this animal received unprecedented medical attention and still died," said Zoodsma.

Once the examination was completed, the skeleton was loaded onto a trailer to be taken to the Georgia Aquarium.

Right whales are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The whales do have a migratory pattern that brings them near the First Coast.

Commercial traffic was halted at the end of January when a right whale was found in a section of the St. Johns River.

The U.S. Coast Guard would not allow boats through the important artery of the St. Johns River near the USCG station because of the whale.

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