A marine mammal specialist says a dead whale that was tagged with graffiti after washing ashore on a New Jersey beach last month died of a virus.

Vandalized whale on the beach in Atlantic City (Troy Platt, Marine Mammal Stranding Center)

Bob Schoelkopf of New Jersey's Marine Mammal Stranding Center tells The Philadelphia Inquirer that the minke whale tested positive for morbillivirus.

The virus is the same one found in 135 dolphins that washed up on Jersey coast last summer and as many as 1,300 animals found dead along the coastline to Florida.

The dead whale was found May 1 below Atlantic City's Central Pier and had been tagged with Greek letters from a fraternity.

Schoelkopf says the whale found in New Jersey had also been struck by a ship, which may have happened after the animal was dead.


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