Entanglement Likely the Cause of Latest Right Whale Death

HYANNIS – Scientists believe they have determined the cause of death of an endangered North Atlantic right whale whose carcass was found last month off the coast of Nantucket.

The probable cause of death was a severe acute entanglement.

Scientists will run a DNA test in hopes of identifying the individual whale and determine the sex by matching it to a known animal in the population.

The carcass was found October 14 about 100 miles east of Nantucket.

It was severely decomposed, suggesting the whale had been dead for anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks at the time it was examined.

The whale had multiple wounds indicative of a wrapping line entanglement, including pronounced ligature impressions with related deep concave defects indicating severe constricting abrasions.

Entanglement wounds were strongly suggestive of numerous transverse body wraps involving the thorax (chest) and flippers. No gear or lines were present on the animal when it was examined.

It was the third known right whale mortality this year.

The population of the species is estimated to be around 450.

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