Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Alert Volunteers Help with a Distressed Whale

Shortly after 10:00 AM Monday, Gary Phillips with Team 3 called Jim to report what appeared to be a dolphin in distress just off the end of Flagler Pier. Jim called George Beidenbach of the Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station (CFS), the organization authorized to respond to strandings in Flagler County.  George was already in Flagler Beach, north of the Pier, looking for the animal, which had stranded the evening before and had been pushed back out. Jim
called the Air Cam, which arrived at the Pier just before 11:00 AM, circling for photos as the small whale was being supported by a surfer.

Using a stretcher designed to carry small whales and dolphins, the CFS team, with help from bystanders, brought the animal ashore and identified it as a male dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima). The scrapes and cuts on the whale in the photo to the right likely resulted during the stranding the night before. These whales typically live far from shore and are rarely seen, except when they are seriously ill and strand. The whale died shortly after being
brought ashore. The CFS team transported him to their lab in Marineland and will conduct a necropsy. Thanks to the alert Team 3, the whale suffered less and valuable information from this rare event was preserved. Way to go!

Note: If you see a whale or dolphin in distress at the shoreline, DO NOT push it back out to sea. It is stranding for a reason. Instead, call 1-888-404-3922 to report it.