Officials: Stage Harbor Minke Whale Has Died

By: Cape Cod Chronicle

As onlookers at Stage Harbor Yacht Club watched and snapped photos, the minke whale circled in Stage Harbor Thursday morning.  ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

CHATHAM -- Officials confirm that the minke whale seen feeding in Stage Harbor Thursday has died.  Its remains were located Friday morning in the Oyster River.

It is not immediately clear what caused the animal's death, though it did sustain injuries apparently while diving under a pier at Old Mill Boat Yard. 18-foot minke whale that apparently didn't want to leave Stage Harbor Thursday.

The adult whale was first spotted around 5:30 or 6 a.m. near the new finger pier at the town landing.  It reportedly became stuck under the pier before freeing itself and swimming under nearby boats.  It also became stranded on a clam flat about 50 feet northeast of the pier, but was able to escape the flat on the rising tide.

Marine mammal rescuers from the International Fund for Animal Welfare received a call about the whale at 6:19 a.m., and attempted to move the animal out of the harbor. The team continued to watch the animal into the afternoon, hoping it would leave the harbor overnight.  Instead, its remains were located in the Oyster River, up-river of the oyster shanties.  

IFAW officials will be visiting the site later today.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.