Vessel strike likely cause of humpback whale's death
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's necropsy team says the male humpback whale found dead on Admiralty Island last week suffered severe trauma.
The carcass was recently spotted on the beach at Point Young, which juts out from Admiralty Island into Stephens Passage behind Douglas Island.
A 10-person team, including a bear guard, were greeted Saturday by bald eagles feeding on the carcass when they arrived to begin taking samples, NOAA says.
The NOAA Fisheries marine mammal team's preliminary findings showed the whale exhibited signs of hemorrhage, bruising and a fractured skull-- all of which are indications of a vessel strike.
"Confirmation of cause of death is pending lab results, which won't be available for at least six months," said Kate Savage, the lead veterinarian for the necropsy.
NOAA says they received no reports of a vessel striking a whale, and the agency's Office of Law Enforcement is now investigating.
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