A humpback whale estimated to weigh 30 tons was recently discovered in the surf at the Assateague National Seashore in Maryland.

This whale, shown above, is being removed from the surf and biologists have collected tissue samples from it. The cause of death is unknown at this time. With that in mind, it is important to note that marine mammals can transmit diseases to humans and pets, so please stay away from its carcass.

Also, please note that this whale, even though it is dead, is still protected under the Endangered Species Act. It is illegal for anyone to collect parts from the animal.

The Greater Atlantic Regional Marine Stranding Network identified the whale as one named Pivot.  The network posted this on facebook:

“We are sad to confirm that a well-known Gulf of Maine humpback whale, Pivot, was found stranded along the Maryland coast last Thursday night. “Pivot” was first cataloged by CCS in 2008 and had a regular sighting history in the Gulf of Maine. Her cause of death is not known at this time. We greatly appreciate the hard work of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, part of the Greater Atlantic Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network, as part of this on-going stranding response.”