A beached whale was put to death in Florida this week after animal experts deemed it was unable to live on its own. The 30-foot sperm whale was not far from shore, and dozens of witnesses could see it was unable to move easily or swim away, eventually leading the emaciated animal to be euthanized so it would not suffer anymore, CNN reports this Friday, Nov. 1.
The beached whale was spotted not far off the coast by Tampa, Florida, on Thursday morning. A local biologist opted to put the animal to death, deciding it wouldn’t be able to live alone anymore in the wild. Due to sperm whale’s rarity of being seen by humans or close to the shoreline, its emaciated form seemed to reveal the animal had been severely hurt or was very sick.
Experts on scene noted the animal "could not live on [its] own," though the nature of how it became so emaciated is still being looked into.
A team of local vets from the University of Florida opted to euthanize the 30-foot whale, giving it a very strong sedative before giving it a killing drug. Taking a long needle, they struck the animal in the beached whale’s chest cavity, effectively slowing and then stopping its heart.
"Although it looks large and scary, it is a very humane thing to do," said Erin Fougeres, a marine mammal biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She noted the technique has been used many times in the past to peacefully put an end to a dying whale’s life, and that they do not feel serious pain from the needle plunge.
A necropsy for the beached whale is planned to take place this weekend, and the whale carcass was quickly taken out of public sight following the euthanizing.