CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. -- Marine rescue units responded to Little Gasparilla Island near Placida, where a juvenile sperm whale stranded itself on a sandbar just off the shore.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife, the 19.5-foot whale was reported by a citizen around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Biologists say it appears to have been separated from its mother, and is likely ill or distressed. they tell Fox 4 that it is unlikely to survive without its parent.
Crews from FWC, Mote Marine Laboratory, NOAA, Little Gasparilla Fire & Rescue, and local police responded to the scene.
Biologists may have to euthanize it.
According to FWC, there are an average of 2 sperm whale strandings in the Gulf of Mexico every year; about half of those are in Florida.
The sperm whale was listed as endangered throughout its range in 1970 under the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969. Sperm whales are also protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.