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Humpback whale found in Delaware likely struck by boat

December 19, 2018

LEWES, Del. (AP) — The director of a marine research institute says the juvenile female humpback whale that washed ashore in Delaware was likely killed by a boat strike.

Suzanne Thurman with the Marine Education, Rehabilitation and Research Institute tells news outlets blunt-force trauma was identified as the cause of death. The strike dislodged and broke the whale’s cervical vertebrae.

A necropsy was conducted Monday, a day after the whale washed ashore at Cape Henlopen State Park. The carcass was buried at the beach after samples were collected.

The 36-foot-long (11-meter-long) was first spotted off Cape May, New Jersey, on Saturday.

Thurman says some samples will be shared with the Smithsonian Institute for genetic testing.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says humpback whales are dying at an unusual rate on the East Coast.

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