Minke whale carcass washes up on Massachusetts beach

Minke whale carcass washes up on Massachusetts beach

FILE PHOTO: The carcass of a minke whale washed up along a Massachusetts beach Friday. (Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Fisheries)

NORTH TRURO, Mass. — The carcass of a minke whale washed up along a Massachusetts beach Friday.

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They are not endangered or threatened but the species of whale is part of an unusual mortality event since 2017, with 59 documented deaths along the Atlantic coast from Maine to South Carolina, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Fisheries. They are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Heavy equipment was needed to move the 23-foot marine mammal, considered a young adult, the Cape Cod Times reported.

Minke are the smallest of what are considered the great whales. They grow up to 35 feet and weigh up to 20,000 pounds. Their common name comes from a Norwegian whaling spotter named "Meincke" who mistook a minke whale for a blue whale.

A necropsy will be performed Monday.