NANTUCKET (AP) – Federal and local law enforcement officials are investigating the mutilation of a humpback whale carcass that washed up on a Nantucket beach.

A spokesman for the New England Aquarium says the whale washed up at Smith’s Point at the island’s west end on Saturday.

Biologists had planned a necropsy on the 36-foot whale but when they arrived Monday they found that someone had cut about three-quarters of the way through the tail with a sharp object, likely a knife.

The necropsy was abandoned and the whale washed back out to sea.

A spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office tells the Cape Cod Times mutilating a whale carcass is a violation of federal law.

The whale had been dead several days when is washed ashore.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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