PANAMA CITY. Fla. (WMBB) — The investigation of the death of a six-ton sperm whale that washed ashore on Shell Island is still ongoing.
A necropsy is being performed on the 28-foot female whale which will help reveal the cause of death.
NOAA marine mammal stranding coordinator, Blair Mase, said they have determined the whale’s stomach was empty at the time of death.
“We are continuing to collect samples and put pieces of the puzzle together,” Mase said.
She said there were no obvious signs of death, but suspect disease is the potential cause.
There are many reasons that could cause a whale to end up stranded like environmental factors, disease, fishing gear, and debris.
Experts said parts of the whale had already began to decompose when it was found, so it may be difficult to determine the specific cause of death.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Mote Marine, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, University of Florida, Gulf World, Emerald Coast Wildlife, Dauphin Island Sea Lab have partnered with the NOAA to make the investigation possible.
The hotline to report injured or dead marine life is 1-877-WHALE-HELP.