A dead humpback whale washed up near Kadena a few days ago. Humpbacks migrate from the arctic to Okinawa to breed and rear their young in winter. Unfortunately for this young whale its life ended early.
Okinawa Churashima Research Center monitors the migration of humpback whales and dolphins in the prefecture and also undertakes research to help with the preservation of endangered species such as the Hawksbill turtle and coconut crab. They also collect data from dead animals such as turtles killed by cars, bycatch from fishing nets, or beached whales.
This morning the researchers undertook an necropsy (animal autopsy) of the humpback whale. The length of the whale, flukes, and various others parts were measured.
The outer layers of blubber were then cut away, measurements were taken, and the flesh was bagged for disposal.
The decomposing whale smelled badly especially downwind.
As more and more of the whale was removed and bagged, the bones were also measured, and collected separately. After analysis the data will hopefully give some insight into why the whale, which they estimated was around 1 year old, died.