Quantcast

Dumpster Debacle Distracts From Serious Spike in Whale Deaths

Animals

This week, a video of a failed attempt to put a dead, 4,000-pound whale into a tiny dumpster made the rounds on the internet, garnering chuckles and comparisons to Peter Griffin forklifting and impaling a beached sperm whale on Family Guy.

The juvenile minke whale washed up on Jenness Beach in Rye, New Hampshire on Monday morning, NBC 10 Boston reported. It was found with entanglement wounds, so researchers with the Seacoast Science Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) wanted to move the carcass from the beach to a lab for a necropsy to study its death.


But efforts to transport the whale took an unfortunate turn. The state-provided dumpster was too small to contain and transport the 16-foot whale, as seen in a Twitter video posted by Jason Schreiber, a reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

The clip shows a front end loader lowering the animal into the dumpster before it flops off the side and lands on the ground.

Schreiber reported for the New Hampshire Union Leader that the whale was covered, barricaded for protection and spent Monday night in the parking lot where it was dropped. The next morning, a larger dumpster arrived. A crew successfully transported the carcass to marine biologists for a postmortem examination on Wednesday.

Ashley Stokes, manager of the Seacoast Science Center's Marine Mammal Rescue Team, explained to the publication that a dumpster is ideal for transport because it keeps the whale contained and its bodily fluids from leaking. She added the whale's remains will be composted.

Although the whale's transportation is a debacle, its death is no laughing matter. Katie Pugliares-Bonner, a senior biologist and necropsy specialist at the New England Aquarium, told LiveScience that researchers have noticed an usual spike in large whale deaths in the Atlantic, especially for minke, humpback and the North Atlantic right whale.

Entanglement in fishing gear, vessel strikes, underwater sounds and anthropogenic noise are an increasing concern for baleen whales such as minke, according to NOAA.

Earlier this year, NOAA declared an "Unusual Mortality Event"—a significant die-off—for minke whales from in the North Atlantic from Maine to South Carolina. This event began in January 2017 and strandings remain high, NOAA reported. Minke whales are not listed as threatened or endangered, but they are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

So when a dead whale washes ashore, biologists use it as an opportunity to study how it died, LiveScience wrote. A necropsy can reveal if the animals were entangled or died of an infectious disease, Pugliares-Bonner explained to the publication. This information can then help inform conservation and wildlife management efforts.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Large food companies are following in the footsteps of fast-food restaurants such as Burger King and KFC by offering meat alternatives. Getty Images

By Elizabeth Pratt

  • Hormel, Kellogg's, and Kroger are among the large companies now planning to offer "fake meat" products at grocery stores.
  • Experts say the trend toward plant-based meats coincides with consumers' desires to eat less meat.
  • However, experts urge consumers to closely check package labels as a product isn't necessarily healthy just because it's described as plant-based.

In grocery stores and fast-food outlets around the U.S., a revolution is taking place.

Read More Show Less
Colombia rainforest. Marcel Oosterwijk / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Torsten Krause

Many of us think of the Amazon as an untouched wilderness, but people have been thriving in these diverse environments for millennia. Due to this long history, the knowledge that Indigenous and forest communities pass between generations about plants, animals and forest ecology is incredibly rich and detailed and easily dwarfs that of any expert.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
picture-alliance / Newscom / R. Ben Ari

By Wesley Rahn

Plastic byproducts were found in 97 percent of blood and urine samples from 2,500 children tested between 2014 and 2017, according to a study by the German Environment Ministry and the Robert Koch Institute.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

Medically reviewed by Daniel Bubnis, MS, NASM-CPT, NASE Level II-CSS

Written by James Roland

Hot yoga has become a popular exercise in recent years. It offers many of the same benefits as traditional yoga, such as stress reduction, improved strength, and flexibility.

Read More Show Less
Lara Hata / iStock / Getty Images

By SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD

Rice is a staple in many people's diets. It's filling, inexpensive, and a great mild-tasting addition to flavorful dishes.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Hinterhaus Productions / DigitalVision / Getty Images

By Lindsay Campbell

From pastries to plant-based—we've got you covered.

Read More Show Less
An image of the trans-alaskan oil pipeline that carries oil from the northern part of Alaska all the way to valdez. This shot is right near the arctic national wildlife refuge. kyletperry / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The Trump administration has initialized the final steps to open up nearly 1.6 million acres of the protected Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to allow oil and gas drilling.

Read More Show Less
Westend61 / Getty Images

By Elizabeth Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Vegetarianism has become increasingly popular in recent years.

Read More Show Less