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Nushagak Whale Necropsy Update

Update: Wednesday, Oct. 12, Mid-day

A team of veterinarians Tuesday performed a necropsy exam on an adult, female killer whale. The carcass of the whale had been secured to a beach in Dillingham, Alaska, after it was discovered floating in the Nushagak River Saturday.

Dr. Judy St. Leger, director of pathology and research at SeaWorld, reports that the animal was examined for human interactions, and no evidence was found.

Diagnostic and biological samples were collected from the whale and will be tested for a suite of data, including age, genetic status and possible infection.

The main finding of the necropsy was that the female killer whale had a large, late-term fetus, which may indicate pregnancy complications.

The team will perform a necropsy on the second adult killer whale found beached along the river Saturday. It is hoped the veterinarians will have a better understanding of what happened following that necropsy.

Samples collected will be used during a full investigation into the cause of death for the whales. A full necropsy report is expected to be available in 4-8 weeks.

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