2 sperm whales die within week in Florida Keys

Calf likely died from being separated from its mother, necropsy to be performed on adult whale

Adult sperm whale found Tuesday in the Florida Keys. (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

MONROE COUNTY, Fla. – Two sperm whales have died within a week of each other in the Florida Keys, but officials didn’t immediately see a connection between the deaths.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials say a calf died after beaching itself on Key Largo last Wednesday.

Then an adult male, nearly 50 feet long, was found beached Tuesday night about 15 miles northeast of Key West.

The remains were towed to a nearby marina early Wednesday morning.

Casey Taylor, the general manager at Robbie’s Boat Yard, told Local 10 News the whale was removed from the water around 3 a.m.

Officials say a necropsy on the calf determined that it likely died from being separated from its mother.

Officials were studying the adult male corpse Wednesday, noting that the animal appeared to be emaciated.

According to NOAA officials, these animals are typically found in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Atlantic Ocean, but in deep water and no where near shore.

If they are close to shore, it typically means that the whale could be ill, they said.

After the necropsy is performed on the adult whale, the carcass will then be placed back in the water and towed offshore “for nature to take its course,” Taylor said.

(Casey Taylor/Robbie’s Boat Yard)
(Casey Taylor/Robbie’s Boat Yard)

About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.