Education at its best took place Sunday morning on the beach near 36th Place West, when a man notified Oak Island Police that a whale was floating offshore. UNCW’s Marine Mammal Stranding Program, made up of student volunteers, faculty and staff in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology were then called. As they were being notified so was most of the local area. Word of mouth spread faster than the internet. As they arrived a young two-to-three year old male humpback whale about 32 feet long, washed up on shore. Crowds of curious onlookers arrive to see the whale. Anyone who cared to listen received an unexpected education on Humpback Whales, while the team measured and took samples from the whale.
It had appeared that the whale had likely been dead for a couple of days with signs of entanglement. This is not unusual however most are able to get free and move on, but some are not so fortunate. The town sent in heavy equipment to move the whale, and the town’s people were very helpful.