Juvenile sperm whale stranded on Charlotte County sandbar is euthanized

Posted at 2:16 PM, Oct 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-19 06:32:56-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. (UPDATE) -- According to Florida Fish and Wildlife, the juvenile sperm whale was humanely euthanized. 

A spokesperson for Florida Fish and Wildlife told Four In Your Corner the chance of the juvenile whale surviving without it's mother was very low, leading to the decision to euthanize the animal. 

The whale is being transported to a marine biology lab where a necropsy will be performed to determine why the whale beached itself on Little Gasparilla Island. 

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. -- Marine rescue units are responding to Little Gasparilla Island near Placida, where a juvenile sperm whale has stranded itself on a sandbar just off the shore.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife, the 19.5-foot  whale was reported by a citizen around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Biologists say it appears to have been separated from its mother, and is likely ill or distressed.  they tell Fox 4 that it is unlikely to survive without its parent.

Crews from FWC, Mote Marine Laboratory, NOAA, Little Gasparilla Fire & Rescue, and local police are on scene.

Biologists are working to decide whether to take the whale in or euthanize it.

According to FWC, there are an average of 2 sperm whale strandings in the Gulf of Mexico every year; about half of those are in Florida.

The sperm whale was listed as endangered throughout its range in 1970 under the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969. Sperm whales are also protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.