Officials euthanize whale stranded on North Carolina beach

FILE PHOTO: One of three Sperm Whales, which were found washed ashore near Skegness, lays on a beach on January 25, 2016 in Skegness, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Officials say a whale of an endangered species became stranded on a North Carolina beach and had to be euthanized.

News outlets report the sei whale was discovered Sunday morning on Masonboro Island near the town of Carolina Beach.

Ann Pabst with University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Marine Mammal Stranding Program says it’s rare a sei whale strands in North Carolina, and could only recall one other that did in the 1990s.

Pabst says the young, very thin whale should’ve been with its mother and hadn’t eaten for a while. The marine biology professor says a plastic garbage bag was found in the animal’s mouth during a necropsy.

She says she doesn’t think the trash caused the whale’s death, but that it certainly didn’t help in its weakened condition.