A parasite could have led to the death of the whale found on Kure Beach. On Wednesday, a passerby that happened to be in the Kure Beach area at 6 a.m. spotted a young humpback whale washed ashore. At 8 a.m. a crowd has gathered to watch the 15,000 pound whale and at 10 a.m. a bulldozer went and took the creature from the surf.
A team of biologists from the University of Carolina came and tried to discover why the whale died. They spent more than four hours carving the carcass while trying to see what killed it. Robin Nalepa, who is the spokesperson from the North Carolina Aquarium said that the whale that was aged between 1 and 2 died because It was full with parasites. The whale had a significant amount of parasites in its lungs and even though that might have not been the only factor that contributed to the creature’s death, it definitely was a big contributor. Those parasites are known for attacking the kidneys and for causing renal failure. Also, a tapeworm was found in the intestine of the whale.
According to William McLellan from UNCW, the whale was covered with mites, which means that the whale was very likely debilitated for some time, before being succumbed to illness. McLellan stated that a lot of humpback whales are found stranded on the state coastline of North Carolina. Apparently, at least one humpback whale is stranded in the state each day.
Further investigation will focus on the brain of the whale. More exactly, a virus called mobilivirus will be searched for. This type of virus is mostly found in the population of bottlenose dolphins. The National Oceananic and Atmospheric Administration states that the mobilivirus belongs to the virus family that causes distemper to the dogs and measles to the humans. People cannot be affected by the marine strain of the virus though.
The stranded whale gathered a big crowd of people, who didn’t go away even when the biologists started the necropsy and the bad odor came from the whale’s body. This was an interesting and unusual show for many people, as the last time a whale was stranded on the Kure Beach was four years ago.
Recently two marine mammals were found on the Bald Head Island, a female bottle nose dolphin was found on the East Beach, a female beaked whale was found on the Brunswick County island, a male bottle nose dolphin was found on the Kure Beach and a great white shark was found on the Wrightsville Beach.
A parasite could have led to the death of the whale found on Kure Beach, but further investigations will determine if other causes contributed to its death as well.