State, federal scientists begin examining dead Fin whale found in Pass Christian

Scientists from different agencies are conducting research on a dead Fin whale that washed ashore in Pass Christian.
Published: Jan. 8, 2023 at 1:37 PM CST
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PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (WLOX) - Scientists from different agencies are conducting research on a dead fin whale found dead just offshore in Pass Christian.

The endangered species is now being examined by several scientists from federal and state agencies, including the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Mote Marine Laboratory, FWC Marine Mammal Research and Rescue, and many more.

Crews arrived early to start collecting samples that will determine the cause of death.

“We are doing an external review of the animal, but we will also be looking internally at all the organs and collecting samples to send them off for testing,” IMMS stranding coordinator Theresa Madrigal said.

There’s no clear answer on what caused the whale to die in our area, but scientists believe it had health problems.

“These animals are very deep dwellers. They are going to stay offshore for the most part, so when they come inshore, typically they are very sick. It’s likely this animal was sick and started to come into the Mississippi Sound,” Madrigal said.

In the past, only three Fin whales have been stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. This is the first time one has been stranded on the Mississippi Coast. The sighting is extremely rare and people like Michael O’Dwyer were shocked to hear the news.

“I thought that I would just come and observe what’s going on. It’s unusual that we see them on the beach. We see porpoises quite often. Not too often do we see whales here,” O’Dwyer said.

Scientists will continue to conduct research in Pass Christian. The cause of death will be determined once they receive lab results.

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