UNCW marine biologists: Whale on Carolina Beach died naturally - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Whale on Carolina Beach likely died of natural causes, marine biologists say

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Marine biologists form UNCW performed a necropsy on the whale. Marine biologists form UNCW performed a necropsy on the whale.
A large dead whale washed up near the Carolina Beach Boardwalk Wednesday night. A large dead whale washed up near the Carolina Beach Boardwalk Wednesday night.

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WECT) - A large dead whale washed up near the Carolina Beach Boardwalk Wednesday night.

Paul Barrington with the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher says the whale is a 16-foot-long Minke whale. Officials moved the whale so it would not get washed back to sea and secured the area.

Science experts say it was a 2-year-old Minke Whale, which is the smallest of the large baleen species.

Marine biologists form UNCW performed a necropsy on the whale Thursday morning and found significant damage to the internal organs.  The Minke Whale suffered a collapsed lung and other signs of trauma to its organs, which suggest the whale died of natural causes.

The biologists also found several bites on the whale that probably happened post death.  They say some of the bite patterns suggest a large shark, possibly a Great White, bit the animal after it died.

Barrington said it's not rare for whales to wash up on shore, and that it happens about two dozen times a year off of NC's coast.

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