By Associated Press - Friday, March 19, 2021

RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) - A dead humpback whale has washed ashore on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday that the 18-foot whale was found on Pea Island, which is about half-mile north of Rodanthe on Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement that the whale is in a decent state of decay. The carcass shows some evidence of shark bites. But a shark attack is not necessarily the cause of death and likely occurred after the mammal died.

A cause of death has not been given by marine biologists who visited the dead whale. But National Park Service and Pea Island Wildlife Refuge biologists conducted a field assessment and collected tissue samples.

The death will also be reported to the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Whale deaths are often blamed on vessel strikes and entanglement with fishing gear.

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