Posted by: The ocean update | April 22, 2015

Beached whale found in Myrtle Beach (South Carolina, USA)

April 22nd, 2015. A Pygmy sperm whale beached itself Tuesday night near 29th Avenue South in Myrtle Beach and later died around midnight, according to NOAA officials.

Myrtle Beach police were notified of the beached mammal and they helped to notify the South Carolina stranding network, according to Lt. Joey Crosby, with Myrtle Beach police.

The whale was transported to Charleston for a necropsy, according to Liz Stratton, assistant stranding coordinator for NOAA.

There have been a high number of strandings in the southeast region since 2013 because of a virus that is infecting sea life, Stratton said.

Ed Sibylline : nothing has been proved about this fact (they speak about the morbillivirus) and amazingly, they never spoke about the  Navy Comptuex operation implication in all those deaths.

If the necropsy results show that the whale had this virus, NOAA will use the data to continue to study the virus and how it is affecting the mammals.

Ed Sibylline : a necropsy alone can’t reveal if the animal has this virus because macroscopical lesions are not characteristic of the illness associated. It’s necessary to lead microscopical analysis and correlate the eventual positive results with the presence of antibodies anti-morbillivirus (indirect method ; the virus is very fragile).

“It is hard to document Pygmy Sperm whales in the wild. Most of the information we have on them comes from when they are beached. Any test results would add to that knowledge,” Stratton said.

Beached whales in South Carolina are not uncommon, she added.

There was another beached whale in the Myrtle Beach area in August 2014.

If you find a beached mammal, NOAA officials have a set of guidelines on how to properly handle the situation.

They are :
– don’t push the animal back out to sea. Stranded marine mammals may be sick or injured. Returning animals to the sea delays examination and treatment and often results in the animal restranding in worse condition
– don’t attempt to swim with the animal if it returns to the water on its own
– do put human safety above animal safety. If conditions are dangerous do not attempt to approach the animal
– do stay with the animal until rescuers arrive, but use caution. Marine mammals can be dangerous and/or carry disease.
– if you see a dead or injured marine mammal, please call 1-877-WHALE-HELP

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