Just as scientists and conservationists celebrate a year of whale sightings in places where they’ve not been seen for at least a decade, four of the huge beasts have washed ashore in North Carolina and Virginia.
The most recent whale carcasses were found Sunday in Corolla, North Carolina, and in nearby Back Bay Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. The Corolla whale was found with injuries consistent with a ship strike, according to ABC 13 News.
An additional humpback washed ashore last week near Oregon Inlet, North Carolina, and a dwarf sperm whale was also recently found in the Nags Head, North Carolina, surf.
According to an article in the Virginian-Pilot, two or three humpback whales normally wash ashore between Ocracoke, North Carolina and Corolla every year. The article also reports that 84 humpback whales have died along the Eastern Seaboard since 2016. Ship strikes account for nearly half of all whale deaths, and entanglement with fishing nets is also a prime cause of whales dying.
Scientists are keeping a close eye on what they are calling “An unusual morality event.”