Scientists await necropsy results on right whale found in U.S. waters

Right Whale

It will likely be weeks before it's known what killed a North Atlantic right whale whose badly decomposed carcass was found this month off Long Island, N.Y.

Phillip Hamilton, a research scientist at Boston's New England Aquarium, wasn't involved in the necropsy carried out on the whale but says it often takes up to a month or two to get lab results.

Hamilton does have extensive knowledge of the whale named ``Snake Eyes,'' which he had been watching for over 30 years.

He says the 40-year-old whale was last seen alive entangled in fishing gear in Canadian waters in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

However, Hamilton says there was no rope found on the carcass, so it is possible the whale was killed by a ship strike.

So far this year, there have been eight right whale deaths confirmed in Canadian waters out of an endangered population numbering only about 400 animals. 

Twenty-nine right whales have died in North American waters since 2017.