LONG BEACH (CNS) - Scientists Thursday could find no obvious reason a young whale found in a shipping channel near the Port of Long Beach died and a necropsy was pending.
The whale was discovered by the U.S. Coast Guard around 6 p.m. Wednesday near Nimitz Road and Pier T and was tied to the pier so it could be examined by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists.
"We now know it was a Fin whale and a 40-foot juvenile female," NOAA spokesman Michael Milstein told City News Service. Fin whales migrate north to south this time of year, he said.
Scientists were looking for a place to tow the carcass to conduct a necropsy to determine the cause of death, he said.
The whale had some abrasions on it, prompting a researcher to tell reporters at the scene that it may have been struck by a large ship and dragged into the channel.
Milstein said officials will check for any underlying illness that might have caused the whale to enter the busy port, and will examine injuries that might confirm the whale was struck by a ship.
It is uncommon to find a whale in a busy port area, Milstein said.
Once scientists have gleaned information from the carcass, they will likely have it towed offshore and sunk in the ocean, he said.