ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — A dead minke whale has washed up on a popular beach in the park, and the area has been cordoned off while officials make plans to have it removed, according to a park ranger.
The whale, an adult male, was reported washed up at Sand Beach around 11 a.m. Sunday, according to Ranger Richard Rechholtz. He said the whale has been dead for some time and had been reported floating off Jonesport in Washington County earlier in the week.
Rechholtz said Allied Whale, which responds to marine mammal strandings, is making plans to retrieve the dead whale and possibly conduct a necropsy on it to determine how it died. Sand Beach, a popular park attraction near The Beehive mountain and Thunder Hole, is open but the part of the beach around the whale has been cordoned off, he said.
Messages left Monday morning for officials at Allied Whale and Maine Department of Marine Resources were not returned.
The whale carcass was attracting its share of attention Monday from tourists visiting the beach, but many paid it no mind and simply enjoyed the sunny setting. Despite the occasional smell of rotting flesh that wafted beyond the yellow tape surrounding the whale, people were playing soccer, sunbathing and swimming in the surf.
Barbara Burgess of Morristown, N.J., said the presence of the whale did not bother her.
“It’s bad that it’s dead, but it’s kind of interesting to see up close,” Burgess said.
John Crawford of Bancroft, Ontario, wandered over to the whale carcass to get a close look and to get a few snapshots. He said he hadn’t known the dead whale was there earlier in the day when he was trying to get his family interested in visiting Sand Beach.
“I said, ‘We’ll see all sorts of stuff,’” Crawford said. “It’s educational for my kids.”
Unlike several larger whale species, minke whales are not listed as endangered or threatened, though they are protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. There are an estimated 185,000 minke whales in the North Atlantic Ocean, according to information posted on the NOAA Fisheries website.