2 pygmy sperm whales wash ashore

Mom found dead; calf euthanized

ANASTASIA ISLAND, Fla. – Two pygmy sperm whales that washed onto the beach at Anastasia Island State Park about 6 p.m. Sunday are dead.

Beachgoers spotted the animals and called authorities, which Nadia Gordon with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said was the right thing to do.

"They're a common strander for Florida. When they do strand, there's a reason," Gordon said. "We always ask individuals, if you come across an animal like this, don't push it back. It's an instinct that they want to push it back into the water, but that's the worst thing you can do."

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The mom -- about 14 feet long -- died. The 4-foot-long calf was still alive when Florida Fish and Wildlife officers arrived, but was euthanized because it was not old enough to survive on its own.

"The calf was dependent on mom. These are offshore species," Gordon said. Calf would need to learn more from mom before being able to survive in the wild. Rehab is difficult with a young calf dependent on mom."

Authorities took the carcasses to Marineland in southern St. Johns County, where necropsies were performed by Florida Fish and Wildlife as well as the Georgia Aquarium to try an determine why the marine mammals beached themselves.

They said Monday there was no evidence of boat impacts, and blood and other tests are pending.