ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — A dead whale that washed ashore at a popular beach has been moved to a nearby site where scientists plan to examine the carcass, according to park officials.
The adult minke whale is believed to have been dead for some time before it washed ashore at Sand Beach on Sunday, park officials have said. The whale had been spotted earlier last week floating off Jonesport in Washington County. The whale’s corpse sat cordoned off on the beach for most of Monday while tourists came and went, taking pictures of the body and otherwise enjoying the beach.
Late Monday afternoon, as the tide came in, park officials and researchers with Allied Whale pulled the whale carcass back into the water and towed it west around Otter Point into Otter Cove for a possible necropsy, park officials said. A necropsy is a detailed dissection that may provide scientists with information on the reason the whale died.
Park officials have said they cannot tell immediately how the whale may have died.
In a voice mail message Tuesday evening, an Allied Whale official confirmed that researchers from the group were planning to conduct a necropsy on the whale in Otter Cove on Wednesday.
Allied Whale, part of College of the Atlantic, was founded in 1972 to conduct conservation-oriented research on marine mammals and their habitat.
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.