On Friday a dead beaked whale was found on a beach in Massachusetts. This deep water whale is very rarely seen so although unfortunate this event enabled researchers to study this rare marine animal in detail.
The whale was found by Mary Kate McHugh DiLoreto who was walking on the beach that morning. The Sowerby’s beaked whale, as the species is called, is characterized by a slender, long snout. The animal feeds with squid and small fish in cold, deep water. Several specimens can be seen nearly 200 miles offshore in the North Artlantic where commercial fishermen net them accidentally from time to time. The beaked whale is renowned to be an extreme diver. Experts say that it can dive thousand feet. However not much is known about this species because of the fact that it spends most of its time in deep water and in addition they are very scarce.
The New England Aquarium declared:
They are so rarely seen that New England Aquarium biologists have been conferring to determine the exact species, which they believe to be a Sowerby’s beaked whale. Aquarium staff last handled a beaked whale in 2006 in Duxbury.”
That’s how elusive the beaked whale can be. The animal from 2006 was handled by aquarium authorities and Regina Asmutis-Silvia from the NGO Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
The whale found on Jones beach in Plymouth is a 17-foot female that has almost a ton. The carcass of the beaked whale was in a quite good condition. Tony Casse, a spokesperson for the aquarium, explained that the body of the whale was in a fairly fresh condition and no traces of trauma, scars or entanglement were reported. So the whale was most likely not hit by a vessel.
Biologists at the New England Aquarium are making investigations in order to find out why the beaked whale was washed ashore. At the same time workers the International Fund for Animal Welfare are performing a necropsy at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
The woman who discovered the whale on the beach photographed the whale and posted a photo of it on her Facebook page and said how amazed her family was to witness this event.
Image Source: phenomena.nationalgeographic.com