Several groups teamed up to perform a necropsy on the humpback whale that recently washed ashore along the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge near Kincaid Park on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. The National Marine Fisheries Service organized the event, during which veterinarians and others gathered information and collected tissue samples on the whale.
Barbara Mahoney, biologist with NMFS, said the whale was male, about 36 feet long, and not yet an adult when it died. The humpback was spotted last week when it was seen floating in Knik Arm. Mahoney said it's rare that any humpback, alive or dead, is seen in Upper Cook Inlet.
"We're taking advantage of the access we have here," she said.
Mahoney said she's not yet sure if they'll be able to determine the cause of death. Staff from Alaska SeaLife Center, Alaska Veterinary Pathology Services and volunteers from Friends of the Alaska Coastal Wildlife Refuge pitched in to help with the effort.