Featured Image Credit: Courtesy Fort Morgan Fire & Rescue
By: Kira Krall
A melon-headed whale was saved from a fatal fate this past Labor Day weekend by Alabama beach goers. They found the cetacean on Fort Morgan beach in Alabama and reported the stranding. Fort Morgan firefighters and an employee of the Orange Beach Wildlife Center assisted in stabilizing the animal until a representative of the Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network from the Dauphin Sea Lab arrived.
Melon headed whales are close relatives of the killer whale and form similar close-knit bonds with their pod mates. These whales are typically found in open ocean and have been recorded diving to over 3,000 feet. Finding a single melon-headed whale stranded on a beach likely means that it’s sick or injured in some way. The last melon headed whale stranding in the area was in 2015 and the animal died of a severe respiratory infection.
Institute Executive Director Dr. Solangi commented that the animal was stable, but they are waiting for the whale’s bloodwork results before proceeding with treatment.
Live near the coast or planning a beach vacation? Download the Dolphin and Whale 911 app that will guide you through how to report a stranded, dead, or entangled animal to NOAA. The app will give you tips on what to do (and what not to do) if you find an animal in trouble, will automatically connect you to the appropriate phone number and will send a picture you take of the animal to the responders.