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WATCH: Shocking Rare Underwater Footage Shows Sharks Feasting on Minke Whale Carcass

Aug 08, 2016 06:10 AM EDT
Whale carcass
At least two white sharks were attending the whale and had removed the tongue, internal organs and most of the muscle.
(Photo : CCS image taken under NOAA permit #18786)

At least six sharks were spotted feasting on a carcass of a minke whale in Cape Cod Bay off North Truro on Friday.

Minke whales, according to American Cetacean Society, are found in most waters but are rare in the tropics. They are fast swimmers, capable of reaching speeds of 16-21 knots (18-24 mph).

According to a press release sent exclusively to Nature World News, the carcass of the 11-foot long female minke whale was first spotted on Wednesday morning. When the researchers went to the site to collect samples, they saw thag the whale's carcass was in good condition and floating with its belly up. This implies that the whale had not been dead for long.

On the following day, the team was once again notified about a carcass four miles from Pamet Harbor. As soon as the researchers went to the site, they saw at least two white sharks feeding on the same minke whale carcass that they found Wednesday.

According to the team's official statement, the carcass was still floating but the whale's body parts, such as its intestines and tongue, are roughly there.

Researchers at the Center for Coastal Studies, who studied and monitored the dead minke whale for three days, were able to document the ravenous footage.

Cape Cod Times said three beaches were shut down after the sighting was reported.

Scott Landry, Director of the Marine Animal Entanglement Response team at the Center, explained that while the vast majority of cetacean research focuses on live whales, it is equally important to study deceased animals.

"Had we not had the opportunity to closely examine this whale over the last 48 hours and witness firsthand the rapid deterioration of the carcass, we might have assumed that these reports represented separate individuals," Landry explained.

"How carcasses change over time is helpful in understanding the likelihood of discovering whale carcasses at sea and how this relates to our understanding of populations."

Members of the public are reminded to exercise caution if they find remains similar to that of the minke whale in the water, as they represent a significant food source for large predators including several shark species.

Such sightings should be reported immediately to the US Coast Guard on VHS 16 or to response teams like the Marine Animal Entanglement Hotline at 1-800-900-3622.

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