A fin whale has washed up on a beach in Mississippi, marking the first time such a stranding has been reported in the state and only the fourth time it has been reported in the Gulf of Mexico since 2002.
Scientists from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies and other organizations will study the remains, which washed ashore in Pass Christian.
The whale, approximately 30 feet long and weighing between 12,000 and 15,000 pounds, may have been accidentally pushed to shore by a ship.
“The mammal was probably sick, and the body got caught in a ship channel,” says Dr. Moby Solangi, director of the institute.
Lab results will determine the cause of death.
Fin whales were classified as endangered and given protection under the Marine Mammal Protection Act after their population declined due to hunting.