A necropsy may be performed Friday on the body of a young fin whale found in a shipping channel near the Port of Long Beach.
The whale was discovered by the U.S. Coast Guard around 6 p.m. Wednesday near Nimitz Road and Pier T and was tied to the pier so it could be examined by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists.
“We now know it was a fin whale and a 40-foot juvenile female,” NOAA spokesman Michael Milstein told City News Service Thursday. Fin whales migrate north to south this time of year, he said.
Scientists were looking for a place to tow the carcass to conduct a necropsy to determine the cause of death, he said.
The examination will likely take place Friday and afterward the carcass would be towed out to sea, Milstein said.
The whale had some abrasions on it, prompting a researcher to suggest it may have been struck by a large ship and dragged into the channel.
Milstein said officials will check for any underlying illness that might have caused the whale to enter the busy port and examine injuries that might confirm the whale was struck by a ship.
It is uncommon to find a whale in a busy port area, Milstein said.
The whale was believed to have recently finished nursing and set out on its own, he said.
Fin whales — the biggest after blue whales — have been spotted near the port in the last few weeks and whale watch boats have reported seeing them feeding on abundant bait fish, Milstein said.
—City News Service
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: