The body of a critically endangered whale species was found floating off the Jersey Shore Thursday, federal authorities said.
The carcass of the North Atlantic right whale was spotted by an aerial survey team from the Center for Coastal studies off the coast of Elberon (part of Long Branch), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a statement.
The Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC), Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, and NOAA are working with area resources in the area to secure a necropsy location, officials said.
Members of the stranding network are making plans to assist in this effort to learn more about the animal, officials said.
Less than 400 North Atlantic right whales exist -- with less than 100 breeding females, NOAA Fisheries said.
This North Atlantic right whale is the first found dead in U.S. waters this year, but the 31st found dead in U.S. and Canadian waters since 2017 in an "unusual morality event" for the species, the NOAA said.
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