INVERNESS, Point Reyes National Seashore (KCBS) — Marine biologists were examining what caused a rare pygmy sperm whale to beach itself at Point Reyes National Seashore.

The animal was discovered late Thursday afternoon near the Abbotts Lagoon Trail. Marine experts were not able to get to the remote beach before sundown. Friday morning, a response team from the Sausalito-based Marine Mammal Center found the whale dead on arrival.

At the time the whale was discovered Thursday it was alive but very weak and it was not expected to survive the night.

According to the Marine Mammal Center, the male whale is young but not a dependent calf. It eyes were very sunken, which suggested that it was sick longer than it was stranded, according to the center.

The 5-foot-long whale had red marks on its body which biologists said were the result of bruising which can happen when cetaceans are out of the water.

Pygmy sperm whales, which grow to be about 11 feet long, spend most of their time in the open ocean.

The Marine Mammal Center said that because it is so rare for this species to be seen, the animal would first be taken San Mateo for a CT scan to learn more about the species. It was to be later taken to the Marine Mammal Center’s Sausalito hospital for a full necropsy.

Results are not expected until next week.

 

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