42-foot-long whale washes up on Norfolk shore

Posted at 5:18 PM, Feb 20, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-21 07:49:58-05

NORFOLK, Va. (WTVR) – A dead whale was found washed ashore Sunday morning in the Ocean View area of Norfolk. The male Sei whale is about 42-feet-long and was found along the surf near First View Street.

According to the Virginia Aquarium‘s Stranding Response Team, it had a deep gash on the back of its head with traces of paint or rust, making them believe it was hit by a vessel.

Whether or not it was alive when it was hit will have to be determined when they perform a necropsy.

They also hope to learn more about it. Susan Barco, Senior Scientist with the Stranding Response Program, says there’s still a lot they don’t know about Sei whales in this area.

“We are not sure what Sei whales feed on when they’re in this area. We`re not sure what their normal parasite loads are. We certainly want to see if there’s any evidence of disease or anything like that and get a better understanding of the wound on the animal and how that affected it.”

Because of the weather and it being a holiday weekend, the Stranding Response Team will likely perform a necropsy on Tuesday or Wednesday.

For now, the whale is secured on the beach and members from the team will be periodically monitoring the site.