Dead humpback whale washes up at Chincoteague beach

Staff from the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program perform a necropsy on a dead humpback whale on Feb. 12, 2018. The whale was discovered during the weekend on the southernmost end of the beach at Assateague Island National Seashore. (Photo: Carol Vaughn/Delmarva Now)

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (AP) -- Biologists are investigating the death of a humpback whale that washed up on the shore of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

The Daily Times reports that staff from the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach were at the scene Monday trying to determine a cause of death. The immature female was reported dead on the beach Sunday.

An aquarium spokesman said the whale had decomposed significantly, complicating efforts to determine cause of death.

Dead whales washing up on Virginia beaches are not especially uncommon in the winter.

Last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced it would conduct an investigation into a spate of deaths of minke whales along the East Coast in the last year.

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