Sowerby's Beaked Whale

Posted 01/19/2016 09:19 AM

The carcass of a rare whale washed up on the shore of Plymouth Beach, Friday July 24th.

The call came to the Department of Marine and Environmental Affairs (DMEA) at approximately 9:45am, and Warden Mark Brulport responded. After viewing the animal and it's location, Warden Brulport notified Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), per standard department procedure. Biologists from WDC, the New England Aquarium, and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) were alerted to the unique find. Massachusetts Environmental Police was also notified.

The animal was approximately 15.5' long, weighed upwards of 2,000 pounds, and appeared to be fresh. Biologists' initial reaction upon examination of the animal is that it is a Sowerby's beaked whale. This species of whale is typically found far off shore in deep waters and is rarely encountered by scientists, so very little is known about them. Do to the unique opportunities the animal could afford to scientists, the entire carcass was hauled off the beach by the Harbormaster and towed back to the town wharf where it was hoisted onto a New England Aquarium truck and driven to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) for further study. Image title