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Endangered right whale found dead, wrapped in fishing gear

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    In this April 10, 2008 file photo, the head of a North Atlantic right whale peers up from the water as another whale passes behind in Cape Cod Bay near Provincetown, Mass. An August 2016 study found that the ability of the endangered whale species to recover is jeopardized by increasing rates of entanglement in fishing gear and a resultant drop in birth rates.

GORHAM, Maine » Federal investigators are looking into the death of a 43-foot-long endangered right whale that was found off the coast of Maine with fishing gear wrapped around her body.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the adult female whale was found Friday near Boothbay with fishing gear ropes wrapped around her head, mouth, flippers and tail. She weighed about 45 tons.

The whale was towed to a Gorham (GOH’-rem) farm. A necropsy was performed Sunday.

The group is trying to determine who owns the fishing gear. It wasn’t immediately known what, if any, punishment could be handed down.

Officials say there are an estimated 500 right whales living in the North Atlantic. They feed by opening their mouths and swimming through groups of zooplankton.

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