NEW INFO: Core Sound Humpback Whale Put Down

Cedar Island, NC -- A humpback whale that was spotted on Monday in Core Sound had to be put down by state officials today.

Dr. Vicky Thayer says the whale had been wounded by a propeller, it had entanglement scars, scavenger damage and shark bites. They felt the whale could not survive.

Around noon the whale was heavily sedated and then euthanized. A necropsy was then done on the whale.

Officials had mistakenly believed the whale had made it out of the sound when it couldn't be found on Tuesday.


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Authorities are hoping a humpback whale that had called Core Sound home for the past couple days has moved on.

An aerial search by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Marine Patrol and a boat search by the U.S. Coast Guard failed to find the 30 to 35 foot long whale on Tuesday.

The whale was spotted Monday morning by crabbers from Cedar Island. WITN went out with the crabbers and shot video of the whale.

Experts found the humpback late Monday afternoon still in the sound. Water there is estimated between four and eight feet deep.

Dr. Vicky Thayer, a marine biologist with Marine Fisheries, said they hope the humpback was able to swim back into the ocean during high tide.


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A marine biologist says it's a humpback whale that's in the Core Sound near Drum Inlet. The U.S.Coast Guard says it doesn't appear to be in distress.

People living on Cedar Island made the discovery Monday morning. Petty Officer Second Class Christopher Jackson says the 30-foot whale is swimming around in water that's four to eight feet deep. They are hoping the whale will be able to leave the area at high tide.

Jackson says whales occasionally get trapped in sound waters when tides go out.

After looking at WITN's video shot Monday morning, Dr. Vicky Thayer says it is a humpback whale. Thayer, a marine biologist, works for the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries and is coordinator for the Marine Mammals Stranding Network in this region.

To view a larger picture of the whale, click on the PHOTOS tab at the top of the story.

Thayer and the Coast Guard were able to find the whale Monday afternoon. She says it's still in the sound, and at one point was heading towards the inlet.

According to the North Carolina Aquarium, humpbacks travel south through the winter to breed or give birth in the Caribbean. During March and April, they then travel back north to polar waters for the summer.

Scientists say humpbacks often swim near the coast during their migration. Humpbacks are famous for their "singing" as well as how they can lift their bodies out of the water, in what is called breaching.

A humpback whale can consume over 1.5 tons of food, mostly plankton and small fish, each day.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 12, 2011 at 10:10 AM
    Oh sorry.. FELT it wouldn't survive. That's even worse. We're basing this on a sort of sense about the whole thing.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 12, 2011 at 10:08 AM
    I love how they said that they BELIEVED it would not survive. So... they weren't sure.
  • by Ole Timer on Mar 12, 2011 at 08:56 AM
    Dog gone it....I told ya'll earlier they needed to harvest it, sell the meat to Japan, and make souvenirs out of the bones. Now the meat has been ruined by sharks and boat motors. At least the bones can be sold.
  • by clint on Mar 12, 2011 at 08:20 AM
    It's a dang fish! I know it's a mammal but just sayin. The ocean is a really tough neighborhood. These guys get injured and killed all the time. Nothing to cry over. Some of ya'll act like it was one of your relatives. Jeeez!
  • by Mars on Mar 12, 2011 at 07:03 AM
    This is so sad, this whale looked so beautiful and graceful. Beautiful creatures!
  • by Anonymous on Mar 12, 2011 at 06:37 AM
    The whale was severley injured and being eaten by sharks and some want to find fault with the people that had the compassion to put it down? I applaud them for making the hard decision and doing what is right. It is unimaginable to me how people could let an animal suffer or blame someone for making the tough decision.
  • by Nate Location: BOCO on Mar 12, 2011 at 06:23 AM
    FREE WILLY!
  • by Nemo on Mar 11, 2011 at 07:21 PM
    That whale had rights!
  • by Rodney D. Location: Greenville on Mar 11, 2011 at 05:12 PM
    I'll miss you Humpy
  • by Anonymous on Mar 11, 2011 at 04:57 PM
    Animals survive more than what humans can,why would you put this animal down?It makes no sense why they would do this.Animals are stronger and more adaptable than humans, they will always find a way to survive and if not let it happen the way God intended.I believe they just wanted to do an autopsy on an animal they usually do not see in this region.
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