NOAA researchers want a look at pygmy sperm whale beached at at San Onofre State Beach

A number of days after a lifeguard found the carcass of a pygmy sperm whale at San Onofre State Coastline, a government marine animal biologist got the worn out head.

Researchers at the Southwest Fisheries Science Facility want to take a look at the uncommon specimen.

Pygmy Sperm whales, which swim in exotic waters, are typically not located off Southern California. Researchers wish to search for a cause of death and also amass other info that might aid in preserving the populace.

The almost nine-foot whale found on the rough shore was initially recognized by Jim Serpa, a previous monitoring ranger at Doheny State Coastline.

It was found May 15 by California State Parks lifeguard Todd Shanklin, who was on obligation that day and also understood Serpa was the man for the work. Both had shared an office at Doheny.

Serpa first considered pictures where he saw a large round head, a tiny dorsal fin as well as the blade teeth.

“I understood specifically what it was,” he said. “It also had a weird blowhole that’s farther up than any other whale and a little off-center. As I walked up to it, I understood my ID from the initial images was appropriate.”

Looking at the whale, Serpa observed what appeared to be a bullet opening.

However, Justin Viezbicke, aquatic creature stranding coordinator at the National Oceanic and also Atmospheric Administration, said he thinks the opening might instead be the result of a cookiecutter shark bite.

“This is a deep-diving varieties, and also these tiny sharks typically attack them and also the resulting wound is an excellent circular wound that we obtain misidentified all the time,” he said. “This types is deep diving as well as the possibilities it discovered someone with a weapon is much reduced than that of it being a shark bite.”

Commonly, obtaining knotted in angling line and also gear poses the biggest threat to this whale types.

Pygmy sperm whales, which use their long, spiky teeth to devour squid, look comparable to tower over sperm whales, that makes it difficult to compare both species. NOAA considers the pet uncommon.

Like all marine animals, they are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. NOAA Fisheries and its partners are functioning to preserve pygmy sperm whales and better the understanding of this species with study and also conservation tasks.

Authorities believe the whale was likely dead when it cleaned onto land.

Dr. Hendrik Nollens, recently hired to head up study for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, is familiar with the whale types from his job in marine veterinary medicine at SeaWorld San Diego.

“We tried to fix up a pygmy sperm whale two years ago,” he stated. “They are infamously testing to rehabilitate. They hair generally in Florida, but the NOAA referral is to euthanize it due to the fact that of the reduced success prices. Probably, due to the fact that they have actually really specialized feeding habits.”

Why the whale is below is anyone’s hunch.

“Scientists state the Pacific is extremely cozy today, so maybe it just turned up below in a cozy spot,” Serpa said. “Or, maybe they are below even more than we know, and we don’t see them since they shy away from us.”

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