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Endangered sei whale stranded on Kitty Hawk beach is now likely dead

Sei Whale stranded on OBX
Posted at 8:25 PM, Jan 27, 2023

KITTY HAWK, N.C. — Members of the OBX Marine Mammal Stranding Team responded to a report of a live whale on the beach around 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

When they arrived, the animal was identified as a sei whale and determined to be a calf that would still be dependent on their mother.

"Because of the young age and poor body condition, permitting agencies recommended the humane euthanasia of the nearly 22-foot-long animal," a North Carolina Aquariums spokesperson said.

According to the aquarium, they incorrectly reported that the whale had died.

"We apologize for the error. These events are dynamic and larger species may require additional drugs for euthanasia. Sedatives and pain relief were administered to the whale and, although it was very quiet, an exam confirmed that it was still alive, although unaware of its surroundings. At this time a larger regional team was mobilized to bring in specialized equipment for such a large animal," the aquarium said in a statement.

According to the aquarium, the response team had to leave the beach once it was dark for the safety of staff and volunteers.

"The whale was moved by the high tide overnight and could not be found during a thorough search this morning. It is likely that the animal is now deceased and may wash up in the next few days along the Outer Banks," the aquarium said.

The aquarium stresses that if you find a live or dead stranded marine mammal to stay back a safe distance and call your local experts.