Whale stranded at Flagler Beach on Florida's Atlantic Coast dies after multiple rescue attempts
FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. - A whale that became stranded on a Florida beach Friday afternoon has died.
The whale, which measured approximately 15 feet in length and weighed an estimated 3,000 pounds, had beached itself in Flagler Beach multiple times as rescuers attempted to pull it back into the water. Several onlookers covered the whale in wet towels while team members from the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute (HSWRI), a non-profit research organization, assessed the health of the mammal.
"I've been holding the whale for the past seven hours," said a visitor from Minnesota named Breckin. "For an animal like this just to be suffering on the beach, I mean, it's sad. It hurts, but I mean, you got to keep it company while it's there."
A whale is stranded on the sand right in Flagler Beach very near the Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area.
The whale died early Friday evening and was removed from the beach shortly after 8:30 p.m. It was to be transported to SeaWorld Orlando, where researchers will perform a necropsy to determine the cause of death.
A spokesperson for Flagler County identified the marine animal as a female Cuvier's beaked whale.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Cuvier's beaked whale, sometimes called "goose-beaked whales," are found in most oceans and seas worldwide and have the most extensive range of all beaked whale species. Cuvier’s beaked whales, like all marine mammals, are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and prefer deep waters of the continental slope and edge, NOAA says.
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"Cuvier’s beaked whales are capable of diving up to at least 3,300 feet for 20 to 40 minutes," according to NOAA.
NOAA reports that this particular species of beaked whale is very sensitive to underwater sounds.
"Strandings of this species in the Bahamas, Caribbean Sea, Canary Islands, and Mediterranean Sea have been associated with active naval sonar," according to NOAA.