Biologist: Mother sperm whale stranded on beach may have had hea - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Biologist: Mother sperm whale stranded on beach may have had heart condition

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The pygmy sperm whale that washed up near Kingston Plantation with her calf one month ago may have had a heart condition, an examination has revealed.

The results of the necropsy performed on the whale, which washed up on the beach on the morning of July 16 and later died, indicated that she may have had a heart condition, according to Wayne McFee, a wildlife biologist with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. He says about 60 percent of animals that get stranded are a result of some kind of heart condition.

McFee added that because of the condition she was also emaciated, due to an apparent lack of feeding, and she was most likely not providing much nutrition to the calf.

Related Link: Mother whale dead, calf euthanized after being stranded on Horry County beach

The calf, which washed up on the beach near the mother, was taken to an animal hospital where it was later euthanized. Without its mother, the calf would not be able to rehabilitate, according to Dr. Rob Young, a marine biologist at Coastal Carolina University.

Dr. Young said that, on average, about six pygmy sperm whales become beached on the South Carolina shore per year.

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