ATLANTIC BEACH, Carteret County - A beached whale was discovered at the Nature Trail along the beaches at Fort Macon Monday morning.
Scientists from the Marine Mammal Stranding Network did an on-site autopsy on the whale, which was determined to be a rare Cuvier's beaked whale. The whale measured about 18 feet long and weighed more than 2,000 pounds.
Scientists say the whale likely beached itself at that spot Sunday night, where it died. Based on a preliminary assessment, the whale appeared to be suffering from a parasitic infection it contracted after giving birth.
The whale's carcass was taken to a lab for further testing.
Park rangers say its important for beachgoers not to go near a beached marine animal. Instead, they should call the appropriate authorities, including 911.