Scientists search for cause of pygmy whale beaching in South Florida

July 10, 2013 at 10:05 AM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., July 10 (UPI) -- Scientists in South Florida say they are studying the remains of a pygmy sperm whale and her calf, which died after beaching themselves on Jupiter Island.

The mother was dying when found by volunteers looking for new sea turtle nests, but the calf was alive, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Tuesday.

The adult mammal was "in very bad shape, very thin and emaciated," said Dr. Charles Manire, the director of research and rehabilitation at Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

The calf, which was two or three days old, was euthanized because a calf that young cannot survive without its mother, Manire said.

The bodies were taken to the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton for necropsies. Authorities said the mother might have had heart disease, which is common in the species.

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