Two beaked whales that had become stranded on Puerto Rico’s northwest coast were rescued and returned to sea, although authorities had to euthanize a third whale that could not be rehabilitated.
The whales were spotted Thursday by fishermen just off the coast of the northwestern city of Aguadilla, the secretary of Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, or DRNA, Carmen Guerrero Perez, said Friday in a statement.
One of the adult whales swam back to sea under its own power, while the second, a female, was assisted by DRNA personnel, Grisel Rodriguez, a biologist and coordinator of the Marine Mammals Rescue Program, said.
The third whale, a calf that was less than a year old, was rescued and taken to the Dr. Juan A. Rivero Zoo, which is overseen by the U.S. commonwealth’s National Parks Company.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. agency responsible for decisions on marine mammals in U.S. territorial waters, determined that the whale should be euthanized to prevent it from suffering.
The autopsy on the animal showed that the calf still depended on its mother for nourishment and could not have been rehabilitated, Rodriguez said, noting that artificial nursing of this species is impossible due to its bodily composition.
“In our waters, it is more common to see pilot whales and other cetaceans. Among cetaceans, the type that most frequently becomes beached is the bottlenose dolphin,” Guerrero Perez said.
Published in Latino Daily News
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