On Sunday morning, we received a quick call from a friend telling us that there was a beached whale on Stuart Beach. We grabbed the camera and headed there straightaway. Sadly, by the time we arrived, the whale had been euthanized and was being brought in from shore.
|Kogias are often mistaken for sharks - understandable given the shape of their heads and the lower jaw of teeth.|
The female Kogia Whale (also known as Pygmy Sperm Whale) was approximately 10 feet in length and weighed around 1,100 pounds. This is one of the smallest species of whale. In all likelihood, the whale suffered from a virus that made it susceptible to predators. It had small shark bites over much of its body. This species of whale is also known for ingesting plastics found in the water. I have not found any information on what they have determined as the cause for its beaching.
" Veterinarians believe the mammal may also be caring a deadly virus. 'It's called the morbillivirus, and basically any animal that's beached is suspect of possibly having that virus, and so there's very little we can do,' said Florida Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Liz Barraco. 'We can't take it into our rehab facilities because the virus is very contagious.'" http://www.wsvn.com/story/27998209/rescuers-tend-to-beached-whale-on-stuart-beach
Make no mistake, it was a very sad sight, but also very fascinating. What an impressive response from average citizens and members of different organizations prepared for this type of event. If we ever witness this type of thing again, it will hopefully have a happier ending.