The endangered whale was too decomposed to determine what caused its death. Photo courtesy Teresa Mazza, Hubbs-Seaworld Research Institute
Playalinda Beach, FL (Florida Today) -- Researchers salvaged bones, organs and whatever else they could from
an estimated 35- to 40-foot-long humpback whale that had washed up at
Playalinda Beach in Canaveral National Seashore this week.
The endangered whale was too decomposed to determine what caused its death.
But staff from Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute gathered samples to test for contaminants.
can't say for sure how old the animal was," said Teresa Mazza, research
assistant with Hubbs-SeaWorld."We didn't see anything unusual. There's
no reason for alarm at this point."
A boater had reported the dead whale Wednesday afternoon, and the Hubbs team responded Thursday morning.
Judging by the degree of decomposition, the whale had likely died about a week ago out at sea, Mazza said.
Waves spread many of the whale's 18-inch-wide vertebrae and other parts across the beach.
had no access to heavy equipment to remove the entire whale, so much of
its carcass was left in the remote area of the national seashore to
wash back out to sea.
Hubbs researchers are federally
permitted to remove whale parts for research and education purposes, but
it's illegal for others to gather and possess whale or other marine
Thursday's whale was the second humpback to
wash up dead in east Central Florida so far this year. On March 15,
Hubbs responded to a 31-foot-long humpback in Volusia County. That whale
was taken to a landfill.
Beached humpbacks aren't unheard of in this region.
"We tend to get one to two a year," Mazza said.