Whale, dolphin beach themselves on NE Fla. beaches

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A whale beached itself in southern St. Johns County on Tuesday afternoon, and a dolphin beached itself in Atlantic Beach on Tuesday morning. Both have since died.


Rescue personnel from the Georgia Aquarium were called to southern St Johns County, just north of Marineland, where the Cuvier's beaked whale beached itself. That type of whale is uncommon in local waters.

The whale died a few hours later after being taken to a facility. Officials said they will perform a necropsy to determine the cause of death.

This was the third stranded beaked whale seen in five years in northeast Florida.

Meanwhile, the dolphin beached itself at about 11 a.m.

Officials said it was showing symptoms of the morbillivirus, so it was euthanized.

"Unfortunately right now in the entire eastern seaboard from Florida to New York state there's something called an unusual mortality event, which means the normal amount of strandings is way higher," said George Biedenbach, director of Conservation Programs at Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station.

Biedenbach said over 90 percent of the animals that were tested along the seaboard had a virus that's mostly common to bottle nose dolphins. That virus has spread to many whales and dolphins.

Officials said if you see a mammal stranded, make sure you're safe and then alert authorities, starting with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.