LEWES — Significant parasitic infections were found in an necropsy of the fin whale that beached itself on Delaware's shore and later died last week, officials from the Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation Institute said Monday.
Examination of the 57-foot whale by the necropsy team revealed parasitic infections in the liver, lungs and kidneys, according to a press release from MERR. The thin body condition and empty stomachs suggest the whale had not been feeding recently, officials said.
The whale's back also showed signs of vessel trauma, likely from a propeller and skeg interaction. The injury was small and showed evidence of healing, suggesting it was unrelated to the cause of stranding, MERR officials said.
The whale was discovered stranded Thursday at Cape Henlopen and beached itself for the final time that evening. It died around noon Friday.
The animal was buried on the beach Friday evening by the Shoreline and Waterways Management Section of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.