SHELL ISLAND, Fla. (WMBB) — NOAA is investigating the demise of a six-ton sperm whale that washed ashore on Shell Island Sunday.
The creature, which is on the endangered species checklist, is about 28 toes lengthy and was emaciated.
“You possibly can see the define of the cranium,” mentioned Blair Mase, a mammal stranding coordinator with NOAA.
A staff of consultants, together with teams from Gulf World, Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee, and the College of Florida are taking samples and performing a necropsy on the whale. This may assist them decide if it was struck down by a illness, injured by human exercise, or was killed by another trigger.
Invoice Holmes and his household encountered the whale whereas they had been at Shell Island. Holmes supplied Information 13 with images and movies of the incident.
“You simply hope that in the event that they examine it they discover out it wasn’t completed, (that) the whale didn’t die because of human intervention on this world,” he mentioned. “That it was sort of the circle of life. That’s what we’re hoping for.”
A sperm whale stranding is a particularly uncommon occasion, Mase mentioned. It has solely occurred 15 occasions in the whole Gulf Coast over the previous 10 years.
She went on to reward the guests who noticed the whale and referred to as the NOAA-stranding hotline for assist. Whereas it may be tempting to push a dolphin or different mammal attempting to strand itself again into the water, that may do extra hurt than good, officers mentioned. The animal will nonetheless be in misery and the nice Samaritans have delayed it from getting the assistance it wants.
The hotline to get assist for injured, entangled or lifeless marine mammals is (866) 755-6622.
NOAA officers mentioned the sperm whale can be towed off shore on Tuesday for disposal.
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