KITTY HAWK, N.C. — Members of the OBX Marine Mammal Stranding Team responded to a live whale on the beach on Thursday.
Officials responded to the whale on Thursday, Jan. 26, at around 1:30 p.m. The whale was identified as a Sei whale calf, or juvenile, and was found to be in poor body condition. Based on its young age and poor body condition, permitting agencies recommended the humane euthanasia of the nearly 22-foot-long animal.
An incorrect report was made by the Aquarium Sunday evening, stating that the whale had died. This error has since been corrected. The whale was administered sedatives and pain relief, and was confirmed to still be alive, though unaware of its surroundings. Dr. Craig Harms and Vicky Thayer from N.C. State University’s Center for Marine Sciences and Technology and N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, helped assist with the effort.
“The response team did an excellent job with this juvenile, yet very large whale,” said Dr. Harms. “They made sure the animal was as comfortable as possible while being mindful of potential scavengers and the environment.”
Due to safety concerns, the response team had to leave the beach once it got dark. The whale was moved by the high tide overnight and was not found during a search the next morning. It is believed that the whale is now deceased and may wash up along the Outer Banks in the coming days.
If you come across a stranded marine mammal, it is recommended to stay back a safe distance and contact local experts. In the Outer Banks, the number to call is 252-455-9654.
For more information about Sei whales, visit CLICK HERE.