Whale stranded near Delaware beach dies

A 50-foot fin whale stranded near the point of Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware has died, authorities said Friday afternoon.

Nikki Lavoie, of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said in an email to WTOP that the whale had died, and that the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute was taking measurements and samples.

After that, the natural resources department would use heavy equipment to bury the whale in a deep trench on the beach.

The whale had stranded itself since Thursday night, said Jennifer Goebel, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and it had been showing no signs of breathing.

Goebel said had been in the surf zone after first being stranded on a sandbar, getting itself off, and then heading closer to shore, “which was a bad sign,” Goebel said.

The research institute had been providing palliative care to the whale.

MERR said a variety of reasons could cause a whale to strand while alive. They include topographic, oceanographic and weather conditions; contaminants; poisoning from natural toxins; disease; emaciation; malnourishment, or human-caused injuries.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.

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