Officials to examine North Atlantic right whale to determine cause of death

Marine mammal experts plan to examine a dead North Atlantic right whale on Thursday after it was pulled ashore in P.E.I. in a bid to determine what killed it and several other whales in recent weeks.

The Canadian Coast Guard and federal Fisheries officials beached the whale in Norway on Wednesday and are scheduled to begin a necropsy, an animal autopsy, sometime Thursday. 

Tonya Wimmer of the Marine Animal Response Society says it may bring more of the endangered animals ashore for necropsies after about six carcasses were found in floating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Officials want to determine if boat strikes, fishing gear or a possible toxic algal bloom could be to blame for the deaths of the whales, spotted near Quebec's Magdalen Islands.

Wimmer says they need to move quickly before the animal decomposes further, which can make it more difficult to determine the cause of death.

She says only an internal exam can confirm what may have killed the whales, and they hope to be able to examine two or three of the carcasses.