The Mystery of the Whale With the Gunshot Wound

By
Photo: AP Photo/Marine Mammal Stranding Center

A mysterious creature washed up on the beach in Allenhurst, New Jersey, on September 24. This wasn't your run of the mill raccoon/dog/chimera hybrid. No, it was a pilot whale — a dead pilot whale. That much is hardly extraordinary. Dead whales happen, from time to time. But this particular dead whale weighed less than you'd expect. Something was fishy, all right. (The weight loss. Not the whale itself. Whales are mammals.)

Upon examination, the culprit was discovered: a gunshot wound.


The wound near its blow hole had closed and faded somewhat, indicating the animal had been wounded as long as a month ago, said Bob Schoelkopf, co-director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. The bullet lodged in the whale's jaw, causing an infection that left it unable to eat.

"This poor animal literally starved to death," Schoelkopf said. "It was wandering around and slowly starving to death because of the infection. Who would do that to an innocent animal?"

Some kind of monster, that's who. Although the whale washed up on New Jersey soil, it had been swimming around for a month before that, so it wasn't necessarily someone from New Jersey who shot it ... but it was probably someone from New Jersey.

Culprit Sought After Whale Shot, Washes up in NJ [AP]