TAVERNIER ISLAND, Fla. (WFLA) — A “very rare” deep-water beaked whale was found dead in the Florida Keys over the weekend.
Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission notified Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder stranding coordinator Steve McCulloch about a possible dolphin bleeding on the northwest sandbar of Tavernier Island on Sunday.
Minutes later, McCulloch said he found the large animal grounded in the shallow sand flats.
The animal was determined to be a deep-water species of beaked whale (Mesoplodont), which is seldom seen outside of 300-plus meters of water.
McCulloch said the animal was deceased.
The DPMMR team said it is going to work with FWC to perform a necropsy and take measurements and samples of the whale to determine its cause of death.
If you see a marine mammal in distress, call 888-404-FWCC.