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MYSTERY New Jersey Whale Shot Marine Mammal Stranding Center / AP Photo

New Jersey Whale Shot

In what seems like a case straight out of a television crime drama, a whale washed ashore in New Jersey—apparently after being shot. Federal wildlife officials said Tuesday they are searching for the shooter, who could face up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. The 11-foot whale washed ashore in Asbury Park on Sept. 24, weighing only 700 pounds—whales that size normally weigh around 1,000 pounds. It died shortly afterward, and it wasn’t until a necropsy was performed that officials realized the whale had been shot. The wound was somewhere near its blowhole, and it had closed and faded somewhat—leading investigators to believe the whale could have been shot up to a month earlier. The bullet lodged in the whale’s jaw, causing it to starve to death.

October 4, 2011 10:36 PM