Officials: Whale found dead in NJ likely struck by vessel

BRIGANTINE, N.J. (AP) — Marine animal welfare officials say the most recent whale found dead on a New Jersey shoreline had apparently been struck by a vessel. The Marine

Mammal Stranding Center said Sunday that preliminary results of a necropsy on the humpback whale that washed up Thursday on the North End Natural Area in Brigantine indicates that

the animal had “blunt trauma injuries consistent with those from a vessel strike.” “Injuries and hemorrhaging were observed on the head and thoracic region, as well as along

the right side and the pectoral flipper,” the center said in a statement. “These findings will be confirmed through laboratory analysis in the coming weeks." The whale was a

32-foot, 7-inch female estimated to weigh about 12 tons and was apparently in good condition judging by the thickness of its blubber, the center said. “The whale’s stomach

was full of partially digested fish and there was fecal matter in the intestines, indicating the whale had been actively feeding prior to these injuries,” the center

said. “Vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear are the largest known human threats to whales of all species,” the center said. “Although there has been speculation

about whether these whale deaths are linked to wind energy development, at this point no whale mortality has been attributed to offshore wind activities." Brigantine, just

north of Atlantic City, has seen two other dead whales on its beaches in recent weeks, among the seven whale deaths in a little over a month in New Jersey and New York.