UPDATE 11/21/20: According to a news release from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab “the prognosis is poor,” for a sperm whale stranded in Mobile Bay. The news release also says the is the first documented case of a stranded sperm whale in Alabama. The news release is below:
Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Marine Mammal Research Program personnel responded to a live-stranded, approximately 35-foot sperm whale in Mobile Bay on Thursday, November 19, 2020. This is the first documented stranded sperm whale in the state of Alabama. The team worked in collaboration with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR).
On average, two sperm whales strand in the Gulf of Mexico each year, most often in the late summer and fall. The Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network, including the network veterinarian and biologists, continued to monitor the condition of the animal on Friday, November 20, 2020. Unfortunately, the prognosis is poor for a large whale such as this, due to its size and location of the stranding.
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab asks boaters to use caution on the water in Mobile Bay this weekend and asks members of the public to report sick, dead, injured, or out of habitat marine mammals in Alabama to the Stranding Network hotline at 1-877-WHALE-HELP (942-5343).
ORIGINAL STORY: BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) – James West was boating with a friend Thursday afternoon when he spotted something in the distance.
“It was unbelievable I couldn’t believe it. Everybody said you need to go play the lottery because you hit the magical number because it’s unheard of that a whale would ever be sighted in Mobile Bay,” he said.
He was fishing south of Weeks Bay when he saw what looked like a dolphin near the shore.
“We noticed a couple humps in the water and a lot of birds,” said West.
As he got closer he could see a large sperm whale in shallow water, struggling and in need of help.
“They said that it had lost a lot of weight and was discolored and we noticed yesterday that it was moving very lethargically. It just seemed like it was in trouble. It was a shame to see such a magnificent creature in such distress yesterday,” West added, after contacting Fish & Wildlife officials Thursday.
He kept his distance while recording the entire ordeal on his cell phone. Fish & Wildlife officials spent Friday morning searching for the whale. West says it was double the size of his 21-foot boat.
“I just couldn’t believe the size of it. I was so excited to actually see a whale, but at the same time I was very disappointed and very sad to see that happening to that whale,” he said.
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