Mysterious Allenhurst whale shooting death solved

Four and a half years after he allegedly shot and killed a pilot whale that beached in Allenhurst, a tuna fishermen has surrendered to U.S. Marshals.

whale shot by human

Cape May resident Daniel Archibald, 27, was charged last Thursday with one count of violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. He appeared in Newark federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III.

On Sept. 24, 2011 the 11-foot, 740-pound pilot whale was found in Allenhurst gasping its last breath, before dying shortly thereafter.

Right away, foul play was suspected by the man whose job it is to investigate marine mammal strandings.

"We saw that there was an infection in the head. When we sent it to the pathologist we told them to look for the entry wound and what caused it. That's when they found the bullet," said Bob Schoelkopf, Director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine.

The necropsy uncovered a .30 caliber bullet lodged in the whale's jaw. The bullet wound triggered an extensive infection that caused the whale to starve to death a month later.

Schoelkopf said he handed the bullet over to the federal authorities, who then started to hunt for the would-be shooter.