The story of a dead whale that was tagged with graffiti is making headlines in the UK. The headline in Saturday’s Telegraph read, “Whale washed up on New Jersey shore gets 'tagged' with graffiti
“A 15-feet-long whale has been found below Atlantic City's Central Pier in the US bearing the Greek letters that belong to a fraternity that has chapters in several schools in the area”
The Telegraph notes that the Minke whale washed ashore in New Jersey when it was tagged with graffiti. The community as well as the Telegraph readers have reacted with outrage.
The whale is about 15 feet long. It was discovered Thursday underneath the Central Pier in Atlantic City, the casino resort capital of New Jersey. Fox News reports that it appears that the whale had been dead for several days.
Atlantic City Police say the graffiti was in purple ink and was not gang-related but contained Greek letters, leading investigators to believe it may be connected with a fraternity prank.
The letters appeared to be Tau Epsilon Phi. That is a fraternity that has chapters at several schools in the area. Those letters are followed by what looked like "94."
A spokesman for the Tau Epsilon Phi said that while it has not been confirmed that its members were responsible it strongly deplores the act. Spokesman Jesse Cohn said the fraternity considers it a "reprehensible act" contrary to its teaching.
The frat spokesman added that the organization is cooperating with the police investigation.
The Press of Atlantic City reports that a dead dolphin was found close to where the whale was found but it had no graffiti on it and it is not known whether the marine mammal deaths were related.
Marine mammal officials say they will bury both animals . Some merchants in the area had already expressed concern that the smell from the rotting animals would keep away tourists.
It’s not the first time marine mammals have washed up on the Jersey shore.
"We had a 57-foot fin whale wash up in Jersey City just a few weeks ago," said Robert Schoelkopf, director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center.
But this is the first time that they have found any of the mammals covered with graffiti.
The Telegraph readers responded to the story with outrage.
Mary Lendahan wrote: "At what local colleges is this fraternity housed? Are animals so insignificant that people cover them with spray paint? This is disgusting."
John Greiner opined, "Graffit on a washed up whale....a new A.C. Low....."
Ken Brown wrote, "The tag is for the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity, and their color is purple. Should be easy to track down the people who sprayed painted the whale. Isn't there a federal law about disturbing federally protected whale carcasses? Or destroying the sacredness of a magnificent ocean mammal's death?"
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