ASSATEAGUE ISLAND, Md. (WJZ) — Crews continue to try to move the body of a beached whale just south of the Ocean City inlet.
The whale, named Pivot, beached last Thursday in between the Assateague Island National Seashore Park and Assateague Island State Park, about a mile south of the inlet. For days, crews have been trying to work to remove the beached whale. Maryland Department of Natural Resources took tissue samples but have not yet determined the cause of death.
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Please stay away from the humpback whale stranding on Assateague Island. Please note that this whale, even though it is deceased, is still protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Under the protection act, any taking or harassment of a stranding marine animal is illegal. https://t.co/GRBzjg3oZr
— Maryland NRP (@MDNRPolice) February 25, 2021
The female humpback whale’s sheer weight and size are causing a delay in moving her carcass. Couple that with weather delays and the process is taking longer than expected.
In an update on Facebook, officials said: “After several hours of work, we have been unable to move the whale. We estimate its weight at 30 tons, and it proved beyond the capabilities of our equipment to move it out of the surf zone. We will continue to monitor the situation and may try again tomorrow if it moves to a more advantageous location.”
A rising tide has made it hard for crews to continue work in the afternoon.
Officials are asking the public to stay away from the beached whale.READ MORE: BARCS Seeking Blanket Donations For Cats & Dogs
One beachgoer, Evangeline Mastromarino, hoped to see it for herself but it was too far to reach on foot.
“(I) was told it was 4-5 miles further beyond, so I kinda turned around and went back,” Mastromarino said.
Pivot was first cataloged by the Center for Coastal Studies in 2008 and has been regularly sighted in the Gulf of Maine.
In an interview with WBOC, a biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Jake Shaner says the size and weight of the whale are making it extremely difficult to move.
“The retrieval process for the whale has been a little bit difficult. We’ve had to contend with some weather and heavy surf Friday and Saturday. And then just trying to plan getting the correct equipment down there to move — it’s an estimated 30-ton animal,” Shaner told WBOC.MORE NEWS: Just Puppies Agrees To Ban, $100K In Fines After Allegedly Selling Dogs From Puppy Mills, AG Frosh Says