A small whale that technicians at the scene identified as a pygmy sperm whale was transported from the Malibu Beach Wildlife Management Area to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine on Monday morning.
The whale was stranded on what is commonly known as "Dog Beach" on the opposite side of the Ocean City-Longport Bridge from Ocean City.
Emergency personnel from Longport and a handful of bystanders helped carry the whale in a cradle from the shallow water to a Stranding Center truck.
The whale was still alive when it was transported about 11 a.m. on Monday morning, but it was later euthanized, according to Bob Schoelkopf, director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. It was transported to the New Bolton Center of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine for a necropsy.
The whale's back appeared to have been sliced several times. Schoelkopf said the slices were not caused by a boat propeller, but likely by the sick or dying animal rolling along rocks or jetties.
The pygmy sperm whale grows to about 11 feet in length at full maturity and weighs about 900 pounds. It is common in the Atlantic Ocean but typically remains farther out to sea in deeper waters, Schoelkopf said.
He said the species is known to have heart problems, and it's not uncommon for the whales to beach in winter and spring.
The Stranding Center is looking for more images of the whale to document the stranding. If anybody has photographs of the whale, Schoelkopf asks them to email firstname.lastname@example.org.