Rare whale turns up dead near Flagler Beach



FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. - Researchers and experts showed up near Flagler Beach Wednesday to get a look at a rare Northern Atlantic Right Whale that washed ashore dead.

"Well, it's very sad. It's a wonderful animal," said Barb Zoodsma of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Scientists said the whale is an adolescent Northern Atlantic right whale and may have traveled with its mother to northern feeding grounds. For some reason it ended up in Flagler County, where experts said it was likely born.

"The area, the habitat we have off our coast here, is very special. It's the only calving area in the entire world for North Atlantic right whales,” said Zoodsma.

Scientists believe there are only 400 of the species in existence, which is why a team quickly assembled to perform a necropsy.

The section of the beach where the whale was found had to be closed, and a team of experts set up right on the sand -- some of them came from out of state. All of them wanted to know what killed the whale.

"In other words, we, as a human population -- are there things that we're doing that is just not in-sync, is not jiving with this species?" said Zoodsma.

The whale had a rope and buoy tied to its fin when it was found.

Scientists said they’ll take samples from the whale, and what they find could help change history so that more of the whales don't end up dead.

Once researchers finish studying the whale and taking samples, they plan to bury the remains on the beach.