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A sperm whale beached along Oak Island's shoreline on Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo: Jenna Kurzyna)
A sperm whale beached along Oak Island's shoreline on Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo: Jenna Kurzyna)

OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — A whale that got stranded close to shore near East 22nd Street in Oak Island Thursday morning has been euthanized.

The team examining the whale said there were injuries. If they determine someone intentionally hurt the whale they will reach out to authorities.

A necropsy is planned for tomorrow on the beach.

NC Marine Patrol said they received a call around 9 a.m. and called the UNCW biology team for help.

When the biologists arrived shortly after noon, they were able to identified it as a male sperm whale. It was bleeding in the water when they got to the beach.

A crowd forms along Oak Island on Nov. 2, 2017, to check out a stranded sperm whale just off shore. (Photo: Jenna Kurzyna/WWAY)

A crowd forms along Oak Island on Nov. 2, 2017, to check out a stranded sperm whale just off shore. (Photo: Jenna Kurzyna/WWAY)

“This animal is just in the surf right now on its right side,” UNCW Biologist William McLellan said. “It’s still breathing but at this size you can’t really pick them up and move them around it’s very difficult situation.”

WWAY reporter Jenna Kurzyna says there were a couple hundred people along the shore watching it all unfold. People there were using towels to keep the whale wet until the biologist arrived to assess the whale’s condition.

“It may seem crazy but I wanted it to know that it wasn’t alone and there was hope,” resident Betsy Herron said.

McLellan said these whales are an endangered species.

“Every situation is different with these guys,” McLellan said. “For this animal, the prospective of it getting where it needs to go is 100 miles of shore.”


Comment on this Story

  • The Pyat

    Anyone know the necropsy results? Infection, injury, parasites, plastic in stomach…?

  • guest45

    sounds like the humane thing was done

  • Pam Byers Henderson

    Any updates on the whales condition?

    • Marvin Mellott

      UM, it was “euthanized”! Condition: Fatal.

  • Vicki K.

    We know Oak Island is short of $$, but for OI police to be writing parking tickets on cars parked along the road, not in driveways or protruding on the street, for those who came to see this once in a lifetime whale beaching is unconscionable!

    • 58thStreetSurfer

      Because they are parked in a bike path? If they were parked on a sidewalk, would you be okay with that?

    • Christopher Meyers

      Oak Island is “slow” on their busy days in the summer. When they get busy on the slow days and hundreds are attracted by a once in a lifetime event, it turns into an easy money grab by the island “Barney Fifes”.
      Great going OIPD! “Our motto at OI is decreasing island visitors one parking ticket at a time. NIPP-IT-IN-THEE BUD!”

  • StrandedNoMore

    Why exactly there is no rescue attemp, nothing? Rescuing stranded whales is conservation in action. This poor whale will either die on his own or will be killed by a “rescue” because the stranding network in the US in general, and NC in particular, is a one big joke. There seems to be a quiet policy to not rescue any whales in the US, and a special script of what to tell the media and the public.

    • guest45


    • Sandra Midgett

      They said the young male whale was emaciated and unhealthy, there may have been an underlying problem.

    • Christopher Meyers

      You may do yourself a favor and go spend some time in Japan where they routinely kill whales in international and territorial waters. They also catch sharks for the sole purpose of cutting off the dorsal fin for soup and return the fish only to die. Or consider Africa, where elephants are poached for their tusks and rare rhino’s are poached for their horn and their little girls are subjected to genital mutilation as a form of birth control.
      Until you experience that, you are welcome to leave our “…big joke” and go elsewhere for your unfounded and biased criticism. Study hard and attempt to develop methods for moving 10 ton aquatic mammals that are injured and in distress off the sandbars. Be part of the solution and stop your belly-aching. They did everything they could!

      • StrandedNoMore

        Right, ignorance is not an excuse,educate yourself. In Tasmania, not one but 7 stranded sperm whales were rescued after 92 hrs rescue operation. Large whales were rescyed in Brazil, survived and one whale was sighted 8 years after being rescued. We have methodology and data, it can be done and it has been done. It is just the absolute joke of the US stranding networks that refuses to rescue any stranded alive cetaceans.

      • Christopher Meyers

        The resources were not available for this rescue. It was very shallow water that would not allow a vessel with enough power close enough to make a possible tow. The animal was already in very bad shape when it grounded itself over 100 miles off course. They did everything possible to save the animals life, but to no avail. Therefore, the humane decision was reached and performed.
        I caution you about criticizing someones education when your own spelling, punctuation and grammar display errors. I again encourage you to find a nation to reside in that you don’t consider a joke! If you need help obtaining a one-way ticket, please advise, there are plenty here that are willing to assist you!

    • 58thStreetSurfer

      Just why would you say whales are not to be rescued? Also, I doubt if MST’s are like EMT’s with an immediate response if a whale is in danger,

  • Dallas Austin

    what kind is it?

    • Brittany Edwards

      It’s a young male sperm whale. There was a live video and the marine biologist said they’re not sure if they can help it at this point. It’s really tired, the shells and sand have cut it so there’s some blood in the water. Hopefully they can figure out some way to help the poor thing

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