September 30, 2008

Whale Calf Euthanized

Marine conservationists say they were unable to save a baby pygmy sperm whale found entangled in mangroves in Florida's middle Keys.

The female calf was euthanized Monday after being transported to the Marine Mammal Conservancy in Key Largo, said conservancy President Robert Lingenfelser.

The calf, about 13 feet long and less than 1 week old, was found dehydrated and starving with lungs full of water, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday, noting the calf was susceptible to infection.

"Marine mammals get their immune systems from their mother's milk," Lingenfelser told the Herald. "They are not born with it in their system.''

The calf was found Monday, without its mother, several miles from the conservancy in the mangroves of Peterson Key.