The Beached Whale at Madeira Beach
Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) beached itself on Madeira Beach today. Veterinarians from the University of Florida and workers from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium tested and determined the whale was very sick. Eventhough it was 30 feet long and 7 1/2 tons, the veterinarians said the whale was emaciated. They gave the whale tranquilizers and waited. Once the whale was calmed down, it was euthanized. Typically, dying whales beach themselves. So, the whale knew it was sick and dying. Yet, it traveled hundreds of miles to the shore. The scene was both very sad and amazing. A cause of death will be determined tomorrow during a necropsy, an autopsy for animals. Afterwhich, the whale will be buried in a whale graveyard at Fort Desoto Park in South Pinellas County. There are two other whales buried at Fort Desoto Park. There are 18 different species of whale in the Gulf of Mexico. They are usually found about 200-500 miles from shore.