The humpback whale that briefly captured the attention of shoreline residents, received a fitting burial at sea on Tuesday.
Erin Merz, manager of media and public relations for the said the female humpback whale would be towed at least 10 miles from the shore before a team from Coastal Environmental Services and the Mystic Aquarium, would puncture the animal in an effort to make it sink.
“Our team took genetic samples this morning and took a lot of photos,” Merz said adding that the results of those samples were not yet available.
The female humpback whale on Monday morning, causing locals to come out to see the unusual sight and wonder about its origins.
Merz said the whale had been dead for several days before it washed ashore. The Mystic Aquarium was not able to perform a necropsy to determine the cause of death because the carcass was too decayed.
Humpback whales, according to National Geographic, generally grow to be about 48 to 62.5 feet in length. The whale off of Lord's Point was about 20-feet in length, suggesting that it was fairly young. National Geographic states that humpback whales grow until they reach the age of 10. Humpback whales are endangered creatures with only about 11,570 left in the North Atlantic.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Protected Resources, the humpback whales scientific name Megaptera novaeangliae, “means ‘big-winged New Englander’ as the New England population was the one best known to Europeans.”
Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act people are prohibiting from touching marine mammals and in fact are supposed to stay at least 100 feet away from any marine animal. NOAA provided the Mystic Aquarium with the instructions on how to bury the humpback whale.
If you encounter a marine mammal or sea turtle in Connecticut, Rhode Island or Fishers Island, New York the Mystic Aquarium requests you call their 24-hour hotline at 860-572-5955.