REVERE — A dead whale that washed ashore on Revere Beach Friday morning will be buried in its place once the tide recedes.
The 25-foot male calf is the same whale that washed ashore in Cohasset on Sept. 9, said Jennifer Goebel, public affairs officer at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It was last seen alive by two observers at Newburyport Whale Watch on Monday, Sept. 3.
“At the time, they said the whale appeared to be acting abnormally and looking slightly thin,” said Goebel.
By Sept. 7, the whale was seen floating off the shore of Gloucester. Two days later it washed up in Cohasset. Blocked by a seawall, state agencies couldn’t successfully pull the whale from the water to bury it on land, as is preferred, she said.
“Usually what we propose to do is dispose of whales on land, either in a burial situation of compost,” said Goebel.
Instead, they disposed of the animal at sea. Nearly two weeks later, it reappeared on Revere Beach early Friday morning.
About 50 people gathered on the beach with cameras at the ready to view the whale lying in the surf on a section of Revere Beach approximately 100 yards from the Revere Beach State Police barracks. Orange cones at the water’s edge attempted to cordon off the corpse from anyone who wanted to wade in and inspect the whale close up.
The corpse appeared to be missing its head and a large bone-like object floated near the whale.
“It’s really sad,” said Revere resident Lisa Solemina who was doing errands Friday morning when a Facebook post alerted her to the whale.
Beach resident Maria Droganova opened her windows overlooking the ocean Friday and quickly caught an unpleasant whiff. She ventured down to the beach, camera in hand, along with other local residents, including Barbara Lucchesi.
“I’ve never seen a whale wash up and I’ve lived here all of my life,” Lucchesi said.
Since January 2016, a spike in humpback whale mortalities has occurred along the Atlantic coast from Maine through Florida, according to NOAA Fisheries. There have been 11 deaths in Massachusetts, including three in 2016, six in 2017, and two so far in 2018.
Necropsy examinations were performed on about half of the whales, and about half of the whales that had been examined had evidence of human interaction, such as a ship strike or entanglement, according to NOAA.
The most important thing people can do to help the problem and assist investigators is to immediately report any sightings of whales that are in distress, stranded, or dead to the Greater Atlantic Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline at 866-755-6622, the Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline at 877-433-8299, or the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16. Dead marine animals should not be approached or touched.