FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. — Days after an orca was found beached in Flagler County, experts were able to identify what led to the death of the animal.
The orca whale, described as being older, died onshore Wednesday in the area of Jungle Hut Park as a result of illness, according to WESH.
"This whale was an older female, almost geriatric, and she did have a lot of illness going on in her body," Blair Mase-Gutherie, NOAA’s Southeast region marine mammals stranding coordinator, reportedly explained. "So we could rule out potential human interaction, we could rule out trauma. It looks more like something going on as illness. It looks like an illness impacted this whale."
The news outlet says scientists call this beaching an "extremely rare occurrence" and claims it's the first record of a killer whale becoming stranded in the Sunshine State.
Crews from SeaWorld and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were at the beach helping with removing the 21-foot orca, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office's Facebook.
"So we're gonna find out, try and find out what type of illness, collected a lot of samples, biological and pathology samples to determine what disease or process was going on exactly,” Mase-Gutherie said to the media outlet.
The skeleton of the whale will end up on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. after the remains decompose.