The FWC or Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had to make an unwilling and sad decision to execute two pygmy sperm whales when they were stranded on Jacksonville’s Neptune Beach on Sunday.
The worried residents were constantly calling the volunteers of the FWC’s Marine Mammal Response that morning the adult sperm whale was spotted on the shore near Walnut Street. The volunteers were immediate in response and hence the mother whale got the attention. Her young one was a few meters away from the mother which the volunteers estimate to have been around 6 hours old that was surely born in early morning.
Cheyanne Rubin of the FWC said in an interview, “What may have happened was the mother was giving birth near shore and a shark was in the area.” He added, “Witnesses did report to us seeing a commotion where the shark may have been interacting with the adult female.”
Mark Johnson is among the first witnesses to the incident. He even said that ‘it was one of the most shocking things he had ever seen’ as he was only having an early bike along the beach at 7 in the morning. “She came straight up out of the water and then just… a ton of commotion… The blood and water was just massive”, said Johnson.
Even a video of the event was captured that clearly portrays that the mother whale was in stress as it was observed to flail on the sand when the volunteers were trying to deal with her injuries.
Rubin, along with the rest of the officials, believed that the best option they had was to kill the whales since they wouldn’t survive in the sea nearby where the sharks were lurking, and due to their preference of staying isolated, keeping them in captivity would cause more bad than good.
The bodies of both the whales had to undergo necropsy after being killed.
Shortly after the event explained, around 150 more melon-headed whales got stranded on a beach in Japann in the town of Hokota which is 60 miles northeast of Tokyo. The coast guards are shocked to witness such a huge number of stranded dolphins at the same time.
Locals were trying their best to put the whales back to the waters using slings. But unfortunately, only three were rescued because some of them were stranded back into the sand due to strong tidal waves.
Melon-headed whales are a member of the dolphin family which thrives in deep waters and rarely appear on land or even shallow areas. Experts and authorities are now looking at the cause behind these sudden incidents causing the death of many whales and dolphins.