While I have been a volunteer for the Marineland Right Whale Project for just the past few years, they were years of abundant sightings of both the right whale and the humpback. This season was just the opposite, deafeningly quiet and cut short due, as it is assumed, to warmer water temperatures. But then, as the "right" season ended, two of us spotted what was likely a pygmy sperm whale in our waters. Then two pygmy sperm whales were found beached within weeks of each other just south of us. But we were wrong to think that was the end of it.
According to The St Augustine Record's website, a sperm whale was found beached yesterday evening in a tidal creek in St Augustine. While this raises more questions, it begs for even more answers. Why are they coming in so close to shore? Assuming it is because they are sick, what is causing it? Is there a specific illness spreading within the whale community? Is it tied to the lack of sightings of the right whales? Is it something in the water, something man is doing or is it just the natural order of things? All certainly good questions and while scientifically interesting it is still heart breaking to witness. Here's the article below and the link to the story at The St Augustine Record. Whale on!
Biologists try to save beached whale by Hospital Creek
Sick whale found in shallow water
June 2, 2012, 12:03 am
A team of biologists and marine mammal experts quickly assembled at the end of Ocean Avenue in St. Augustine on Friday evening after a kayaker spotted a small whale circling near Hospital Creek.
Larry Kendrick of EcoTours, a company based at St. Augustine Marina, had been kayaking near the creek about 6 p.m. when he spotted the 11-foot to 12-foot pygmy sperm whale and called the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission hotline. Hospital Creek is near Mission of Nombre de Dios, site of the large cross north of downtown St. Augustine.
FWC Marine Mammal Biologist Nadia J. Gordon arrived, as did George Biedenbach, director of conservation programs for The Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station in Flagler County, Hillary Register of the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens Stranding Team and Zack McKenna of Eco- Tours.
Ashore, a steel cable was hooked to the sling and a winch lifted the patient into the Georgia Aquarium’s truck.
THE ST AUGUSTINE RECORD