NOAA Launches Federal Investigation into Increased Whale Deaths
Since a dead minke whale was found near New York’s LaGuardia Airport in January 2017, the agency has documented a total of 29 stranded minke whales from the coasts of Maine to the Carolinas. Of which, 27 were dead, according to Jennie Lyons, a spokeswoman for NOAA.
The somber fate of these whales has prompted NOAA to open an “Unusual Mortality Event” investigation into the strandings.
While the whales have only been found between Maine and South Carolina, officials are extending the investigation area to include as far south as Florida to take into consideration the whale’s migration patterns.
Preliminary information from these investigations shows 11 of the dead whales had confirmed or suspected human or fishery interaction, such as blunt force trauma or a net entanglement. Investigators also believe eight of the whales carried an infectious disease.
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