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Body Of First Pygmy Sperm Whale On Long Island Sound Found

A pygmy sperm whale that went missing has been returned.
A pygmy sperm whale that went missing has been returned. Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons/Inwater Research Group

One week after a request for the person who had taken the carcass of a rare pygmy sperm whale from a beach in FairfieldCounty to return it, the whale has been recovered.

The Town of Stratford said the whale, the first spotted on Long Island Sound, that washed up on Russian Beach before disappearing last month has been found.

The statement was issued by officials with the town, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, which all worked together to retrieve the whale.

"Pygmy sperm whales are rather elusive and this may mark the first instance that the species has been recorded dead or alive in Long Island Sound," the statement said.

The whale was found in December and examined by Dr. Christian Senft-Batoh, with the town of Stratford, as well as officials with Mystic Aquarium and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, who confirmed that it was indeed a rare pygmy sperm whale, Senft-Batoh, wrote in a letter to residents.

"It seems that at some point on December 30, 2018, the whale was removed from the beach, possibly with the use of a cart or ATV," she said.

After the whale was removed, Senft-Batoh learned that the Yale Peabody Museum was in the process of obtaining permits to collect the body of the whale, and put out the call for its return.

“In the future, the bones of the approximately eight-foot long whale will be an important research specimen in the vast collections of Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History,” the statement said. “It will be made available to scientists visiting from around the world and possibly used in courses at Yale University and various public programs.”

In the original request, officials said there would be no questions asked if the whale was returned, so town officials are declining to say where and when the carcass was recovered.

"The pygmy sperm whale recovered from Stratford will certainly provide very valuable research and educational opportunities for generations to come," the statement said.

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