🐳 Good Samaritans kept the 800lb Pygmy whale hydrated until a vet arrived

🐳 A cause for the stranding has yet to be determined

🐳 A Monmouth University poll shows a strong belief it is connected to wind projects


LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP — A female Pygmy whale stranded itself on a beach on LBI Tuesday morning, the 14th on the Jersey Shore since December.

Video posted to Facebook by Bob Preston, who identified himself as a Marine Mammal Stranding Center volunteer, shows the 600-pound Pygmy whale on a beach in the Loveladies section being. It was being held upright by members of the Long Beach Township Beach Patrol.

"The guard in the white long tee arrived 10:45 a.m. and wouldn't take his hands off the whale rendering his wrists numb," Preston wrote. Beachgoers and lifeguards poured buckets of water on the whale to keep it hydrated until a veterinary technician arrived.

Ten people lifted the whale onto a truck to take it away.

Pygmy whale after being loaded onto a truck
Pygmy whale after being loaded onto a truck (Marine Mammal Stranding Center)

Stranding is stressful

The Marine Mammal Stranding Center on its Facebook page said the veternarian found the whale was lethargic and unresponsive with labored breathing. Its prognosis for survival was poor and the whale was euthanized.

"The impact of stranding on cetaceans (dolphins and whales) is traumatic as their body weight and organs are normally supported by the water around them," the Stranding Center wrote in a statement. "When a cetacean is stranded for any length of time, their own body weight causes crushing damage to their internal organs, which lessens their chances of survival."

A necropsy will be performed at the state's Animal Health Diagnostic Lab in Trenton.

Pygmy whales are a deep-diving pelagic species rarely seen so close to shore, according to the Stranding Center. It was the 1976 stranding of a Pygmy Sperm whale in Atlantic City that led to the MMSC's founding by Bob Schoelkopf who at the time was the Manager of the Steel Pier.

Decreasing support for wind projects

The Marine Mammal Stranding Center, which tracks dolphins and marine life that strands itself on New Jersey beaches, also reported that a Baleen whale was found floating dead 12 miles off Asbury Park.

It was severely decomposed when it was found and heavily scavenged. The whale did not wash ashore.

According to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center's count, 41 dolphins have stranded themselves on Jersey Shore beaches since December.

The latest stranded whale comes as a newly released Monmouth University poll shows decreasing support among New Jersey adults for the development of offshore wind energy projects.

Forty-five percent of poll respondents feel that projects related to offshore wind are either definitely or probably contributing to whale strandings. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say there's a connection.

Supporters of wind energy projects including Gov. Phil Murphy contend there is no scientific evidence to support their belief. Murphy has refused calls to temporarily stop work on the projects pending more research.

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