Endangered whale strands itself on Masonboro Island

MASONBORO ISLAND, NC (WECT) - A team with the UNCW Marine Mammal Stranding Program were called to Masonboro Island Sunday after reports of a stranded whale. Upon arrival, the team encountered a young Sei Whale, which is a type of Baleen Whale. The young, very thin whale should've been with its mother and hadn't eaten for a while. The marine biology professor says a plastic garbage bag was found in the animal's mouth during a necropsy.

“It very rarely strands in North Carolina. It’s a very poorly understood Baleen whale, we don’t know much about it. It’s very rare to strand in North Carolina,” said Ann Pabst, a member of the Marine Mammal Stranding Program and Professor of Marine Biology at UNCW.

Pabst could only recall one other Sei Whale stranding in North Carolina dating back to the 1990s.

She said this type of whale is an endangered species, and was about 16 and a half feel long. Adult Sei Whales can grow to be 65 feet.

After examining the whale and consulting with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the on-site volunteer veterinarian made the call to euthanize the whale.

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