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A dead 43-foot-long whale lies on the sand in Toms River N.J. hours after washing ashore on Wednesday April 26, 2017. The whale, whose cause of death could not immediately be determined, was dismembered and carted away. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
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Dead 43-foot whale washes up on beach at New Jersey shore

A dead 43-foot-long whale lies on the sand in Toms River N.J. hours after washing ashore on Wednesday April 26, 2017. The whale, whose cause of death could not immediately be determined, was dismembered and carted away. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) — A badly decomposed whale has been hauled off a New Jersey beach.

The Brigantine-based Marine Mammal Stranding Center says the 43-foot whale may have been a Sei whale, but the poor condition of the carcass makes a firm identification difficult.

The condition also makes it difficult to determine how the whale died.

The carcass had been floating offshore for at least three days before washing ashore Wednesday morning in the beach town of Toms River.

Authorities roped the animal off with crime scene tape to keep a crowd of onlookers at a distance.

Technicians from the stranding center used giant knives atop 6-foot-long wooden poles to slice the whale into smaller pieces. Public works crews then used front-end loaders to drag and carry the pieces away.

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