STINK ALERT! Dead 18-foot-long humpback whale washes up on Pea Island

The remains of the whale washed up Thursday. [USFWS in N.C. photo]

A dead adult humpback whale has washed up in the southern end of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the dead whale was located about a half-mile north of Rodanthe on Thursday.

“It’s in a decent state of decay already and displays some evidence of shark activity (not necessarily the cause of death, that likely happened after, according to a post on the USFWS in North Carolina Facebook page.

Refuge and National Park Service biologists were able to complete a field assessment, collect tissue samples, and photograph the carcass on site and will report the event to the marine mammal stranding network.

Given its current size and state, they anticipate it will remain on the beach, and stink, for awhile. And with the forecast of rough surf, and continued decomposition, parts of the whale may end up elsewhere on the beach.

Refuge officials said there is no need to call-in reports about the whale, and that nature will eventually take care of it.

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