UPDATE: Beached whale euthanized, to be transferred to UF

Published: Jun. 29, 2017 at 11:50 AM EDT
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By: Erika Fernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News

June 30, 2017

TAYLOR COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) -- NOAA confirms that a whale that was found beached in Taylor County on Thursday had to be euthanized.

The pilot whale was removed from the beach and will be transferred to the University of Florida for a necropsy to determine the official cause of death.

According to NOAA, the whale was in poor condition, and a veterinarian reports the mammal could not be saved and euthanasia was the best option.

By: Erika Fernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News

June 29, 2017

TAYLOR COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) -- It was a shock on the shore and a sighting like no other when a fisherman in Taylor County spotted a 10 foot pilot whale on Hagens Cove Park. Crews worked around the clock to free the animal.

"We were coming around that port right yonder and saw something black laying right in the grass, the tide was falling. And its fins were sticking up and waving back and forth," said Clint Wood, the fisherman who reported the whale.

The animal came back to the shore more than once. Rescue crews said they only do that when something isn't right.

"They normally don't do this, that's why it's a rare thing to see so if a marine mammal does strand like this, there's something wrong with it," said Lyn Charlton of the Marine Mammal Stranding Rescue Network.

The group was determined to keep the whale alive by covering it in towels and water, shielding it from the sun.

"The towels and the water just to keep it cool, keep the skin moist. If the skin starts to dehydrate, then the animal can dehydrate and go downhill very quickly," Charlton said.

A team from the University of Florida showed up to treat the animal, but believed treatment rather than release is the best case scenario.

"Whales and dolphins do not strand on accident, there's something wrong with them. So you push it out to sea, she's just going to come back," Charlton said.

NOAA tells WCTV the whale is in poor condition. A veterinarian reports the mammal cannot be saved, and euthanization is the best option at this point. According to the group, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, some of the reasons whales become stranded are injuries, sickness, or just following its pack.

By: Edan Shultz | WCTV Eyewitness News

June 29, 2017

TAYLOR COUNTY, Fla. (WCTV) – Crews are working to help a beached whale in Taylor County.

FWC officials says the beached whale was reported just before 10 Thursday morning at Hagens Cove, about 15 miles northwest of Steinhatchee.

The whale, believed to be a pilot whale, is 10 feet long. The University of Florida Marine Mammal stranding team is responding.

The Taylor County sheriff’s office says the beached whale was spotted by a local fisherman this morning.