Dead humpback whale found in New Jersey marina

A dead humpback whale was discovered wedged under a dock in Middle Township, New Jersey, according to Jim and Debbie Mooers, co-founders of Grassy Sound Marina, who discovered the whale over the weekend.

Debbie Mooers said she immediately contacted New Jersey State Police Marine Services at 7 a.m. on Sunday.

“It caused a spectacle: everyone and their brother were here,” Mooers said. “It had a foul odor.”

New Jersey State Police Marine Services, Marine Mammal Stranding Center, New Jersey Fish and Wildlife and New Jersey coastguard coordinated an effort to move the 25-foot long whale to the back bay of Grassy Sound Marina, where there is no boat traffic, as its final resting place at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Bob Schoelkopf — the founding director of Marine Mammal Stranding Center, an animal hospital in New Jersey that responds to distressed animals —  said the whale was so decomposed that nothing could be done with it. The creature was missing a head and mostly eaten away, so determining the cause of death was impossible, Schoelkopf said.

But Mooers said the juvenile whale was most likely sick or hit by a propeller. She said she had never seen a dead whale in her 20 years of owning Grassy Sound Marina. When the marine police arrived, Mooers said she saw terrapin turtles feasting on the dead whale.

New Jersey State Police Sergeant Karen Fahy said she heard reports on Friday and Saturday of a dead whale offshore, and it is most likely the same one found in Middle Township.

Around a year ago, another dead humpback whale was found 15 miles north of Wildwood, New Jersey, which was also placed in the back bay of Grassy Sound Marina with nothing but bones left, Schoelkopf said.

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