On June 19, 2017 a 535 cm (17’ 7”), Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) was reported washed ashore at Fort Macon State Park. Dr. Vicky Thayer, coordinator for the central area NC Marine Mammal Stranding Network, responded with a team which included staff from UNC Wilmington, the N.C. Maritime Museum, N.C. State University Center for Marine Sciences and Technology in Morehead City, Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC Aquariums, and the NC Division of Marine Fisheries. The various responders worked together quickly and efficiently on the beach and back at NC State CMAST to examine, measure, and necropsy the animal. Middle school students scheduled for a presentation as part of the Brad Sneeden Marine Science Academy were also able to come to the site for a rare opportunity to see marine science in action.
The Cuvier’s beaked whale was determined to be a mature female. The necropsy and related tissue analyses, once completed, may be able give us more information.
The skeletal material is being prepared for future study and rearticulation by staff and volunteers of the NC Maritime Museum.
For more information about Cuvier’s beaked whales, visit http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/
To report a stranded marine mammal (dead or alive), visit http://www.capelookoutstudies.
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