Sometimes we do other things than training. There are many other departments in the Aquarium that we get to work with from time to time. We have worked closely with the Rescue and Rehabilitation department over the years. They deal with many stranded and sick animals including sea turtles and marine mammals (which we have a little experience with). Last week we had a really cool opportunity to help out with a deceased humpback whale that washed up onto a beach in Plymouth, MA. Click here for a link to one of the news stories.
The Rescue Rehab Truck
We rode down to the South Shore with the Rescue Rehab team including one of our veterinarians. Once we got there we followed the smell down some steep stairs to the beach. It was obvious that the whale had been dead for quite awhile and had washed up on the beach earlier in the morning. Scientists had already taken samples from it while it had been floating in the ocean the week before.
Justin taking measurement of tissue sample sites
Lindsay measuring the whale's length (it was just under 30')
Our job was to take measurements and note any unusual markings or debris (e.g. netting, propeller marks etc) which we found none, and talk with curious beach goers. The whale was a juvenile male humpback and was just under 30 feet long. It was not obvious how the whale had died, but hopefully the samples previously taken will give scientists some answers.
If you ever encounter a stranded or deceased marine animal on a beach, remember to keep your distance. If you think the animal is in trouble, call your local aquarium and they will help you out. The NEAq's stranding hotline is 617-973-5247.