Wandering whale a wonder for Eastern Shore

Baldwin County

MONTROSE, Ala (WKRG) — Officials from NOAA, the Alabama Department of Natural Resources, Dauphin Island Sealab, and others are keeping watch over a stranded sperm whale in Mobile Bay.

It’s the first documented case of a stranded sperm whale in Alabama waters. This wandering creature is bringing a sense of wonder to the Eastern Shore. Watching this 36-foot long whale turn in the Sunday sun just off the shore in Montrose can make you feel like a kid.

“Well it’s crazy that a whale’s in Mobile Bay and the size of it is just humongous, it’s crazy there’s a whale in Mobile Bay,” said an excited 3rd grader Ward McCorry. The animal seen near shore before lunchtime Sunday.

“It’s so unusual what happened here and to see something that huge,” said Charles Osburn. The big message from the people on the scene they want people to stay away from this animal.

“It’s better if they don’t try to come out or get close to it, it is a potentially dangrous situation for the people and it’s potentially very stressful for the animal,” said Dr. Ruth Carmichael with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Wildlife officials set up a parameter.

“We’ve been watching it since Thursday and when the tide comes up the animal can move more easily we want to be able to keep track of it so we can keep monitoring it,” said Dr. Carmichael. Locals say this small park in Montrose has never been this crowded. While dozens gather at Stedman’s landing to take a gander, things don’t look good for this whale.

“These animals strand for a reason that’s usually because there’s a problem, it’s sick or there’s something wrong,” said Carmichael. Dr. Carmichael says they’ll continue to study and monitor the whale. At this time it does not appear to be a good candidate for rescue. The animal has had three times to swim out to see since Thursday and stranded itself each time. Sea Lab officials say always call the marine mammal sighting network if you see a whale or another stranded animal. Trying to push an animal out to sea only prevents them from getting the care they may need.

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