Whale washes up dead in Emerald Isle, necropsy shows it swallowed balloon

This Gervais' Beaked Whale was found in Emerald Isle. The whale was reportedly seen alive but was dead when workers arrived on the scene. A necropsy showed the whale had ingested a plastic balloon. (Photo: CMAST - NC State University Center for Marine Sciences and Technology)

This Gervais’ Beaked Whale was found in Emerald Isle. The whale was reportedly seen alive but was dead when workers arrived on the scene. A necropsy showed the whale had ingested a plastic balloon. (Photo: CMAST – NC State University Center for Marine Sciences and Technology)

EMERALD ISLE, Carteret County — A live Gervais’ Beaked Whale was reported by beachgoers to the N.C. Marine Mammal Stranding Network on Oct. 30, 2023 in Emerald Isle.

A team arrived and found the animal was a 10-foot, 9-inch long female calf and had died.

Marine mammal expert speaks on death of stranded whale in Emerald Isle | WCTI

Beaked Whales are deep-diving marine mammals and live sightings are rare as they live at the continental shelf edge and beyond and they spend most of their time under water.

The dead whale was removed and taken to the N.C. State University Center for Marine Sciences and Technology (CMAST) lab where it was chilled overnight and then a necropsy was done.

The study showed this calf died from ingesting a plastic balloon.

This plastic balloon was found in the stomach of a Gervais’ Beaked Whale that was found in Emerald Isle. (Photo: CMAST – NC State University Center for Marine Sciences and Technology)

To report a live or dead stranded marine mammal, call one of the following:

N.C. Outer Banks – (252)-455-9654

Central N.C. Coast – (252)-241-5119

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