Mar 14, 2011. Cedar Island, NC — A humpback whale that was spotted on Monday in Core Sound had to be put down by state officials today.
Dr. Vicky Thayer says the whale had been wounded by a propeller, it had entanglement scars, scavenger damage and shark bites. They felt the whale could not survive.
Around noon the whale was heavily sedated and then euthanized. A necropsy was then done on the whale.
Officials had mistakenly believed the whale had made it out of the sound when it couldn’t be found on Tuesday.
Authorities are hoping a humpback whale that had called Core Sound home for the past couple days has moved on.
An aerial search by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Marine Patrol and a boat search by the U.S. Coast Guard failed to find the 30 to 35 foot long whale on Tuesday.
The whale was spotted Monday morning by crabbers from Cedar Island. WITN went out with the crabbers and shot video of the whale.
Experts found the humpback late Monday afternoon still in the sound. Water there is estimated between four and eight feet deep.
Dr. Vicky Thayer, a marine biologist with Marine Fisheries, said they hope the humpback was able to swim back into the ocean during high tide.
A marine biologist says it’s a humpback whale that’s in the Core Sound near Drum Inlet. The U.S.Coast Guard says it doesn’t appear to be in distress.
People living on Cedar Island made the discovery Monday morning. Petty Officer Second Class Christopher Jackson says the 30-foot whale is swimming around in water that’s four to eight feet deep. They are hoping the whale will be able to leave the area at high tide.
Jackson says whales occasionally get trapped in sound waters when tides go out.
After looking at WITN’s video shot Monday morning, Dr. Vicky Thayer says it is a humpback whale. Thayer, a marine biologist, works for the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries and is coordinator for the Marine Mammals Stranding Network in this region.
Thayer and the Coast Guard were able to find the whale Monday afternoon. She says it’s still in the sound, and at one point was heading towards the inlet.
According to the North Carolina Aquarium, humpbacks travel south through the winter to breed or give birth in the Caribbean. During March and April, they then travel back north to polar waters for the summer.
Scientists say humpbacks often swim near the coast during their migration. Humpbacks are famous for their “singing” as well as how they can lift their bodies out of the water, in what is called breaching.
A humpback whale can consume over 1.5 tons of food, mostly plankton and small fish, each day.