Feb. 1 (UPI) — The carcass of a rare Bryde’s whale washed ashore in the Everglades this week.
According to a Twitter post by Everglades National Park, the deceased whale was recovered on Wednesday and taken to Flamingo, the park’s southernmost headquarters. Scientists with the Federal Marine Mammal Stranding Network performed a necropsy but were unable to determine a cause of death.
The whale that washed ashore was a young adult male. He measured 38 feet in length.
“The species is the only year-round resident baleen whale in the Gulf of Mexico,” the park’s Twitter account announced in an update.
They are the only resident baleen whale in the Gulf of Mexico and are distinct from Bryde’s whales worldwide. The species, Balaenoptera brydei, is a member of the “great whales,” or rorquals, the family of large baleen whales that includes blue whales and humpbacks.
Bryde’s whales are unique among baleen species, as some populations migrate with the seasons while others remain in the same location.
“They are the only resident baleen whale in the Gulf of Mexico and are distinct from Bryde’s whales worldwide,” according to NOAA.
Biologists think there are fewer 100 Bryde’s whales in the Gulf of Mexico. Though their relatives elsewhere are relatively abundant and among the least threatened of the baleen whales, the isolated Gulf subspecies faces a variety of threats, including vessel strikes and noise and pollution caused by oil and gas operations.
In 2016, NOAA proposed the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale be classified as endangered.