Rosemary Seton, the marine mammal stranding coordinator at Allied Whale, stands with what remains of a pilot whale calf. The carcass washed up along the Bagaduce River last month and Seton suspects it had been dead for a long time. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALLIED WHALE, COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC

Whale calf washes up

PENOBSCOT — A long-dead long-finned pilot whale washed ashore along the Bagaduce River late last month. 

“It had been dead for a while,” said Rosemary Seton, the marine mammal stranding coordinator with Allied Whale at College of the Atlantic. “It was almost a skeleton.”  

The whale was 7 feet long, which means it was a calf when it died. Long-finned pilot whales can grow to about 15 feet and can be found in Maine, though it’s likely that currents washed the carcass that far inland, Seton said.  

By her guess, the whale had been dead for a while, possibly since the fall when calves are usually born. Because of its condition, it’s hard to tell what happened to the calf. 

“As to why it died, not a clue,” Seton said. “It’s been scavenged a lot.”  

The carcass is currently composting, and the bones may give some clue as to what caused its demise.

Depending on their condition, Seton said she may try to set the bones aside for an educational project with a local school, possibly a skeleton articulation. 

“We’re always encouraging education outreach,” she said.  

Ethan Genter

Ethan Genter

Former reporter for the Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander, Ethan covered maritime news and the town of Bar Harbor.
Ethan Genter

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