Beached Whale Died of Old Age

AUGUST 16, 2005 -- A 12 foot whale washed up on the shores of Holden Beach and died, but experts are relieved by their reasearch into the death of the whale. They say the Pygmy Sperm whale died of old age.

"We know it lived a full life out there. The fact that it died an hour after it washed up shows it was pretty weak," says UNCW Researcher William McLellan.

Two years ago a 36 foot long whale starved and washed up in Carolina Beach with fishing line found in its mouth. These unusual events help researchers learn more about the species.

McLellan is one of scientists studying the 1,000 pound mammal in Holden Beach.

"We don't know much about the population of this whale or how many there are in the ocean."

Now the carcass samples will be shipped to the University of Tennessee for more testing.

Reported by Maggie Alexander