A massive whale carcass which washed up on a beach in southern Israel last week was buried Sunday, after samples from the body were taken to determine the animal’s cause of death.
Last week, a 55-foot fin whale which washed up on Nitzanim Beach, just days before beaches all along Israel’s Mediterranean coast were covered with tar.
Waves of tar polluted beaches from the southern coast in the Ashkelon district all the way to Rosh Hanikra in the north, apparently after a passing ship leaked tar as is made its way through the eastern Mediterranean last week.
On Sunday, officials from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Israel Marine Mammal and Assistance Center supervised the burial of the animal on the Nitzanim Beach.
Before burial, the animal’s body was examined by veterinarians from the Nature and Parks Authority, and samples taken from its organs to attempt to determine the cause of death.
The animal’s location has been marked, and it’s remains are slated to be exhumed and taken in for study in 2023, after its soft tissue has decayed.
The examination revealed that the 55-foot (17-meter) animal was a male juvenile fin whale, weighing in at about 25 metric tons (27.5 tons).
It was determined that the whale likely died roughly two weeks ago, and may have died before the tar leak responsible for the beach pollution had occurred.
However, Dr. Roni King, a veterinarian from the Nature and Parks Authority, pointed to evidence suggesting that the whale may have infact been killed by the tar spill.
“In the marine mammals lungs a black liquid was found. That material raises suspicions, and we will examine them.”