VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – An endangered North Atlantic right whale is now laid to rest.

The dead North Atlantic right whale was discovered on Sunday in Virginia Beach.

Tuesday, February 14 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) performed a necropsy to learn the cause of death.

NOAA confirms the whale has been identified as a 20-year-old and 43-foot male. Officials believe the whale died in the water sometime on Friday or Saturday.

“The two primary causes of right whale mortalities are vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. They are not living long enough to die of natural causes. So, those are the things that we are looking at for the whale,” said Kim Damon-Randall, director of NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources.

NOAA officials want boaters to slow down as a way to prevent whale deaths in the future.
“We want people to learn from this so that we can try to save these magnificent animals.”

Many residents came to the area between the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and Lesner Bridge to pay their respects.

“It’s making me sad,” said Molly Robertson. “With two of them within the last 10 days it does kind of make you think about things.”

The examination and burial were also a classroom for some Virginia Beach students with the Brock Environmental Center.