Pilot whale beaches itself, dies at Hunting Island

    A short-finned Pilot whale beached itself near the Nature Center and Fishing Pier at Hunting Island State Park late Thursday morning and only lasted a few hours before the sad ending occurred with the whale dying of natural causes, giving onlookers a somber feel after the rare opportunity to watch one of these majestic mammals up close…and to feel for it as well.

    Sometime around 11am, the stranded whale was noticed along the shore and park rangers along with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources arrived to find the whale stranded on oyster shells in a hopeless situation.

    The 13 foot long whale was taken to an NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) laboratory in Charleston where an animal autopsy, or necropsy, will be performed to examine for illness or anything else that could help determine the reason for its beaching.  There have also been a few other confirmed beachings of Pilot whales in the local area over the past few days.

    If you happen to see a beached whale, call 1-800-922-5431 to report the animal to SCDNR.