LUBEC – Maine scientists are curious to learn how a whale found dead and floating in a cove ended up there.

People who have seen the whale found in Lubec estimate that it’s about 26 feet long. Harbormaster Ralph Dennison tells Maine Public he believes it was a humpback whale based on the size of its fins.

College of the Atlantic researcher Rosemary Seton confirmed it was a juvenile female humpback whale, though researchers were unable to confirm the exact cause of death.

Officials say the mortality rates of humpbacks have risen in recent years, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declaring an “Unusual Mortality Event” for the species a year ago.

NOAA officer Deborah Fauquier says she’s anxious to find out more about this particular whale’s cause of death.

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