Authorities have finished their examination of a whale that beached in Florida this weekend, and they have concluded that the cetacean and its offspring didn’t fall victim to a shark, as some witnesses claimed.
A mother whale and its calf were found washed up on the shore at Neptune Beach on Sunday, as the Inquisitr previously reported. The two pygmy sperm whales were euthanized by authorities, after representatives of the FWCC, Marine Mammal Response, Atlantic Beach Ocean Rescue and local lifeguards spent much of the day attempting to rescue them. The juvenile whale appeared to be just a few hours old, and some observers theorized that the mother whale, which appeared to be in poor health, could have been compromised while in the process of giving birth.
— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) April 12, 2015
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials have now completed their necropsy of the mother whale, and have concluded that it was not, in fact, attacked by a shark. As First Coast News reports, witnesses alleged that they observed a shark attacking the adult whale, yet FWCC representative Allison Perna noted that no signs of such an incident were visible.
“When we got a closer look and through the necropsy of the mother there were no bite marks or shark wounds evident,” she related. “We’re also dealing with an unusual mortality rate right now. Dolphin morbillivirus is going through the dolphin population and while we’ve seen it slow down as of late and we’re hoping the unusual mortality rate closes soon, we’re actually still in it.”
Beached mother whale and calf are euthanized in Florida: http://t.co/zo8wbNtgLs pic.twitter.com/AP56ryLz3U
— Kevin Coyle (@RareWildlifeGuy) April 14, 2015
A necropsy of the whale calf is scheduled for later this week, with full results from both examinations to be concluded in the coming month. The procedures will be carried out at a facility on Buck Island, according to WJAX. Tests have also been conducted on the remains of the adult whale in an attempt to detect the presence of Dolphin morbillivirus, an infection that could impact the whales’ ability to survive on their own, according to Perna.
“For whatever reason if they’re not doing well they’re not going to keep swimming in the ocean they will come ashore and beach themselves,” she observed.
Though it appears the adult whale was not the victim of an attack, injured and sick cetaceans often present easy prey for sharks, which have also been known to feed on their carcasses.
[Image via WJAX]