An unusual thing happened earlier this month, an Orca, known colloquially as a ‘killer whale’ was found in Palm Coast, Florida. Orcas are not commonly found off the coast of the Southeast United States. The last recorded stranding in the region was in Okaloosa County, Florida in 1956.
It appeared to be alive when it first stranded, but died before experts from Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute, SeaWorld Orlando, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission could arrive to provide assistance to the behemoth.
After an autopsy was performed at Sea World in Orlando, the whale’s body it was transported to a secret research facility at the University of Florida in Gainesville. At this facility, scientists study the decomposition of the creature and its effect on the environment.
Scientists can investigate postmortem artifacts, possible evidence of puncture or gunshot wounds to determine whether the death was natural or caused by humans.
The Whale has been buried in a secret grave on the UF Campus and once the tissue decomposes the skeleton of the killer whale found at Palm Coast will be transported to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History to be added to their collection in Washington D.C.
Orcas can be found worldwide and have been involved in several mysterious mass beachings around the world, as many as 19 – 25 Orcas have beached themselves at once. Mass strandings of Orcas have occurred in New Zealand, Mexico, Greenland, Alaska and Norway, Japan and Newfoundland.
If the whales are in unfamiliar waters, panic can set in to the pod and because of unfamiliar currents and tides can result in these mass strandings with fatal consequences.
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