A pilot whale was discovered stranded near the beach Nov. 26 at Grayton Beach State Park. Discovered in the early morning hours near the rental cottage area, the whale was in poor condition according to Patrick Hartsfield, park service specialist at the park.
Multiple agencies responded according to Hartsfield.
“Gulf World, Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded, in addition to park personnel,” Hartsfield said.
Due to the severity of its illness, the whale was euthanized and transported to Gulf World. A necropsy will be conducted by the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service.
About Short-finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus)
Short-finned pilot whales are larger members of the dolphin group reaching average lengths of 12 feet (3.7 m) for females and 18 feet (5.5 m) for males with maximum male size of 24 feet (7.3 m). Adult weight is 2200 to 6600 pounds (1000 to 3000 kg).
Short-finned pilot whales are found primarily in deep waters throughout tropical and subtropical areas of the world. There are four recognized stocks in the U.S.: West Coast, Hawaii, Northern Gulf of Mexico, and Western North Atlantic.
They prefer warmer tropical and temperate waters and can be found at varying distances from shore but typically in deeper waters. Areas with a high density of squid are their primary foraging habitats.
Information courtesy noaa.gov