Scientists move humpback whale & will perform necropsy

JAMESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) – Scientists may soon know the cause of death of the massive whale that has been caught on the rocks in Jamestown for nearly a week.

A boat was finally able to get close enough to tow the whale away Thursday morning, though its exact destination has not been disclosed.

The mammal had been washed up on the shore of Beavertail State Park since Saturday, but the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) says it has been unable to tow it away for a necropsy due to choppy water.

Passersby noticed an increasing stench as the animal started to decompose, which has reportedly cleared since its removal.

In order to conduct their research, scientists from NOAA and Mystic Aquarium must move the whale to a more accessible location on the beach. According to Janelle Schuh, Stranding Coordinator at Mystic Aquarium, the best time to do so is high tide, so that when the tide goes out the next day there is plenty of time to perform the necropsy.

The boat was able to get to the whale at high tide as planned.

Performing the dissection will hopefully allow scientists to learn more about the whale’s life, as well as how it died.