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Stranded Pygmy Whales Euthanized

And now for your bimonthly dose of bummer whale news:

On Sunday, a whale and her calf had beached themselves at Jensen Beach, just north of Waveland Beach in St. Lucie County.

Beachgoers spotted the whales in the water shortly before they beached themselves.

The pair were identified as pygmy sperm whales, the mother being eight to ten feet in length and her calf about four feet.

Scientists and conservation groups were alerted about the animals' stranding themselves late Sunday afternoon.

The were found in poor health and were taken to Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute by truck.

It was then determined by scientists as well as the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration that both mother and calf had a heart disease and, since it's extremely rare that whales recover from the disease, the pair needed to be euthanized.

The mother and calf were put down Sunday night and will reportedly undergo necropsies.

While pygmy sperm whales live in deep ocean waters, scientists say they are the second-most-common marine mammal to beach themselves after the bottlenose dolphin.

Just this past December, a dead 40-foot sperm whale washed ashore in Deerfield. A couple of dillholes rode the whale like a horse before it died.

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Chris Joseph
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