DELAWARE COAST

Carcass of 27.5-Ton Whale Washes Up at State Park in Delaware

Volunteers from the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute, Inc. perform a necropsy on the 50,000 pound Sei whale that washed ashore on Conquest Road in Dewey Beach, Del.
Volunteers from the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute, Inc. perform a necropsy on the 50,000 pound Sei whale that washed ashore on Conquest Road in Dewey Beach, Del. (AP Photo/The Daily Times, Will Hall)
By Martin Weil and Kafia Hosh
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, May 25, 2009

The carcass of a whale estimated to weigh 27.5 tons washed ashore last week on the Delaware coast in a park north of the resort town of Ocean City, authorities said.

The juvenile male, 41 feet 9 inches long, was found Wednesday at Delaware Seashore State Park, on the coastal strip between Ocean City and Dewey Beach, Del.

Finding so large a whale on Delaware's coast is "somewhat unusual" and might occur once every two or three years, said Suzanne Thurman, executive director of the Marine Education Research and Rehabilitation Institute.

"We normally do not get very many whales washing ashore on the beach in that area at all," a Delaware park ranger said. The spot where the whale was found is not primarily for swimming, he said.

Thurman said a necropsy showed that the sei whale had been struck by "a very large ship" and suffered skull and jaw fractures. Sei whales migrate northward along the edge of the continental shelf as summer approaches.

The skull was taken for educational purposes, Thurman said. Heavy equipment moved the rest of the carcass a short distance for burial Thursday, she said. "It was a challenge," Thurman said.


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