Melon-headed whale beaches self in Franklin County over the weekend

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Gulf World Marine Institute staff say a melon-headed whale beached itself Sunday on Little Saint George Island in Franklin County.

Melon-headed whales are an offshore species native to the Gulf of Mexico. (Gulf World Marine Institute)

Staff say the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve was able to secure the whale on the beach until GWMI staff could arrived. To protect the whale from the sun, they say they laid damp towels on it and shaded it with palm fronds.

GWMI staff say when they got to the whale, they did a health examination. They say the animal was underweight, had labored breathing, and had several fresh wounds, including shark bites. They say based on the health assessment and poor prognosis, the animal was humanely euthanized.

GWMI staff say melon-headed whales are an offshore species native to the Gulf of Mexico. They say they have responded to a handful of cases involving the species of whale over the years.

"It's less likely that they would survive in rehab. The success rate of bringing marine mammals back to life is very low, even for the ones we can bring back to the facility. Oftentimes, it's kinder to the animal to end its suffering," said Gulf World Marine Institute Stranding Coordinator Lauren Albrittain.

Gulf World staff says they're still examining the remains of the whale. They also say if you see a beached animal, do not push it back into the water instead call for help.

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Melon-headed whales are an offshore species native to the Gulf of Mexico. (Gulf World Marine Institute)
Melon-headed whales are an offshore species native to the Gulf of Mexico. (Gulf World Marine Institute)
Melon-headed whales are an offshore species native to the Gulf of Mexico. (Gulf World Marine Institute)