FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Dead whale washes back onto Bald Head Island

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Submitted: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 6:56pm
Updated: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:00am

BALD HEAD ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — The Bald Head Island Conservancy says the beached whale that was pushed back into the ocean yesterday washed back on shore dead this morning.

The conservancy says a stranding team is taking the female pygmy sperm whale to UNCW’s Marine Sciences Lab for a necropsy.

Bald Head Island residents pushed the beached whale back into the water yesterday.

(Photo courtesy Bald Head Island Conservancy)


  • John Henry says:

    from boredom reading that ridiculous crap. Like I’m going to click the link for more. I hope that if you need help someday that every one around you leaves you right where they find you and that they go to research, then locate and then notify the proper authorities about your location and condition.

  • Guest 50 says:

    Please be advised that the BHI Conservancy and the stranding team were contacted at approximately 11:15 in the morning. Initial instructions were to “keep it wet” until help arrives. These people were in contact with the stranding team during the entire afternoon. The stranding team kept saying they were only 30 minutes away when it reality it took 3 1/2 hours for the first person to show up. By then it was high tide and the whale had swam out.

    We all need to have at least some facts available before we rush to judgement.

  • LelandGal says:

    At least they tried to help and that is what counts… Keep up the good works out there everyone…. Never give up. That whale might have lived, U will never know..

  • Guest943975 says:

    Reading the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the people from BHI that were involved with the death of the whale voilated US federal law.

    Read it here:

    They have no qualifications to do anything with marine mammals to begin with. Since the whale arrived there under it’s own accord, and they interacted with it, they violated sections 18 A i, and 18 A ii.

    It ended up dying, which may not have happened if they contacted qualified personnel who are authorized to evaluate and take the necessary steps to deal with the situation. UNCW’s marine biologists said as much. Had they done the right thing, the whale might still be alive – either under appropriate care, or possibly having been evaluated, and properly transported to an appropriate release location.


    (A) The term “harassment” means any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which—

    (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild; or

    (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering.

  • Guest211 says:


  • ilm1212 says:

    The BHI residents that messed with this poor animal on Sunday should have done the right thing and called UNCW in the first place. The marine science/stranding team would then have made the determination to try to save or euthanize the animal. Instead, the do-gooders caused the animal more suffering. Aren’t there federal laws about harassing such marine life?

  • John Henry says:

    a real surprise to find the live, beached whale. I’m glad that these people tried to help. I’m sure none of them had the # for UNCW with them. I have learned from the comments on this story that in the future, if I find beached marine life, I will try to contact the local authorities. I’m glad we have a great group like the one from UNCW that can help.

  • ilm1212 says:

    911 will work. The point is that there are specific people in our area who have been authorized to approach/handle such animals. I would think that BHI conservancy understands this. As pointed out, it is extremely rare to encounter a live beached pygmy whale. BTW, thanks for the clarification MBY.

  • MBYmajor says:

    Unfortunately, guest, the word harassing is used very loosely when in reference to an endangered species. For certain animals, including the species of whale that washed up on BHI, being within a few thousand feet of the animal can be considered harassment. Though these people meant well, animals have instincts that humans don’t have. Usually when a whale beaches itself it is either sick or injured. They beach themselves to avoid being attacked by stronger, healthier animals. By touching this animal and forcing it back in the water, they were in fact harassing it. The correct course of action is calling the Marine Stranding Team at UNCW, who, with the help of a veterinarian, makes the call to attempt to save the animal or euthanize in a way that limits pain and suffering.

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