Dick Broom

Dead Sperm Whale Ashore in Hulls Cove

Dick Broom
Crews for College of the Atlantic’s Allied Whale conduct a necropsy on a 50-foot sperm whale found floating dead last week in Frenchmans Bay.

BAR HARBOR — A necropsy is being performed to try to discover what caused the death of a 50-foot-long, male sperm whale that was found floating near Schoodic Point last Tuesday.

But Sean Todd, director of Allied Whale, the marine mammal research group at College of the Atlantic here, said there is a good chance the cause of death of the endangered marine mammal will remain unknown.

He said no signs of injuries have been found, and the whale’s internal organs may have decomposed to such an extent that they are unable to yield definitive answers. He estimates that the whale was about 15 years old and that it died about two weeks ago. Based on its size, Dr. Todd said it probably weighed around 100,000 pounds.

Allied Whale’s research vessel, Osprey, towed the animal to a mooring in Frenchman Bay a few hours after it was first spotted by fishermen. On Monday morning, it was towed to the beach at the Park Entrance Motel (which is not open to the public this season) in Hulls Cove, where Allied Whale faculty members, students and volunteers are performing the necropsy.

When they are finished, the animal’s soft tissue will be composted and the bones will be buried to be cleaned by bacteria. Then the skeleton will be reassembled for exhibit in a museum, Dr. Todd said.

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Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]