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Rare Whale Carcass That Washed Ashore in Stratford Has Been Found

The whale was first discovered in early December and officials believe someone removed it sometime on December 30.

A rare pygmy sperm whale carcass that disappeared after washing ashore in Stratford in December has been found.

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Credit: Donna Rae Henault Caporaso
The body of a rare pygmy sperm whale was found on Russian Beach in Stratford in December.

A letter from the town’s Conservation Administrator Christina Senft-Batoh said the whale was first discovered in early December on Russian Beach. After a major storm, the whale was spotted further along the beach, near Lordship Road. Officials believe at some point on Dec. 30 the carcass was removed from the beach, possibly with a cart or ATV.

After the whale disappeared, Stratford officials learned the Yale Peabody Museum was looking to obtain permits to collect the rare whale. Officials said there are few, if any, accounts of the species being found in the Long Island Sound. The town is now searching for the whale in hopes of giving the museum a chance to research it.

A news release posted on the town of Stratford’s website Tuesday says the specimen has been recovered and representatives of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History worked with staff from CT DEEP’s Wildlife Division and the Town of Stratford’s Department of Public Works to retrieve the 8-foot-lomg whale.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries division, pygmy sperm whales have protected status. In the U.S., they live off the coasts of Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, the North Atlantic, and the northern Gulf of Mexico. Because they avoid vessels and planes, and only surface when the seas are very calm, scientists rarely see them and there is limited information available about the species.

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