When beachcombers found a dead whale washed ashore in Atlantic City this morning, the sad sight was made all the more discomforting by graffiti sprayed on the side of the carcass.
The animal was discovered at about 8 a.m. near the city Boardwalk's Central Pier, according to Bob Schoelkopf of New Jersey's Marine Mammal Rescue Center.
From initial investigation of the whale body's tissue, the animal likely died at sea "some time ago" and was washed ashore in the heavy wake produced from this week's storm.
He added that it takes "a perverted mind" to spray graffiti on the side of a dead creature.
"It's something you normally wouldn't find," Schoelkopf said. "You wouldn't expect someone with such a perverted sense as to graffiti an animal."
He said police had yet to determine what the graffiti said, but that similar letters were found on the underside of the nearby pier.
He said authorities buried the animal nearby within hours of finding it.
A dead common dolphin also washed ashore overnight, about seven blocks from the whale.
Schoelkopf said the deaths were unrelated. The dolphin carcass was taken to a state laboratory in Ewing, Mercer County, to determine its cause of death.
The exact cause of the whale's death will likely remain unknown, as Schoelkopf said no signs of human interaction — whether by boat prop or boat collision — or predatory attack were evident on its body.