On Sept. 24, an underweight whale was washed up on the beach at Allenhurst in Monmouth County. After a necropsy was performed, rescuers realized the whale had been shot in its jaw, which caused an infection that prevented the whale from eating, ultimately causing starvation.
The wound near its blow hole had closed and faded somewhat, indicating the animal had been shot as long as a month ago, Bob Schoelkopf, co-director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, told the Wilmington News Journal.
Federal law enforcement authorities are investing the crime. Whales are protected by the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act, which means violators can be fined up to $100,000 and sent to prison for a year.