Press Release from Gulf World Marine Institute.
Gulf World Marine Institute (GWMI) Stranding Team responded to a call on Saturday morning at around 7:30am. The call reported that there were two small stranded whales on Cape San Blas. GWMI’s asset providers, Gulf County Fire Department along with volunteers were first on the scene. They quickly assisted the distressed animals out of the rolling surf and onto the beach and waited for GWMI. When the GWMI team arrived they identified the animals as a mother calf pair of Dwarf Sperm Whales. This pelagic species (deep water animal) is commonly found in tropical to temperate oceanic waters from the Gulf of Mexico to Virginia.
Secret Holmes-Douglas, Director of Gulf World Marine Institute assessed the whales. The mother had labored breathing and had very poor body condition and the calf was not in much better condition. After consulting with NOAA Fisheries, they determined that the animals were not a candidate for rehabilitation and then humanly euthanized. The animals were transported to the NMFS lab in Panama City for a necropsy that was performed by the GWMI stranding team. Samples will be sent to NOAA Fisheries with the intention of determining the cause of the stranding.