Experts: Ship may have hit endangered whale found dead

** ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY MAY 4 ** The site of the new National Marine Life Center in Bourne, Mass., is seen Thursday, May 1, 2003. The Center's pools will serve as a hospital where beached and injured marine animals ranging from whales to sea turtles will be allowed to recover. (AP Photo/Julia Cumes)

BOURNE, Mass. (AP) – Researchers say preliminary findings show a North Atlantic right whale may have been struck by a ship before the animal was found dead in Massachusetts waters.

Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say bruising consistent with blunt trauma could be evidence of a ship strike.

North Atlantic right whales are an endangered species. The World Wildlife Fund says only about 350 are still living.

NOAA is urging vessels to keep a watch for right whales, which often swim just below the water’s surface and can be hard to see.

The 27-foot long, 1-year-old female was found dead in Cape Cod Bay on Thursday and towed to a harbor where it could be placed on a flatbed for transport. A final analysis is expected to take weeks.

 

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