ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Dozens of beachgoers watched, some in a state of shock, as an injured baby pygmy sperm whale took its final breath Saturday.
Several beachgoers rushed to help the whale that washed ashore at Mickler's Beach around 7 a.m. Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arrived to help try and save the injured whale, but it was too late and the whale had to be euthanized.
People stood and watched in shock, some with tears in their eyes as officials were forced to make the difficult decision.
"The will that that animal had to live, you would think that it would die when it got on the beach," one beachgoer said.
A sedative and painkillers were given to the distressed whale, to help comfort him while an FWC official explained each step of the process to the concerned crowd.
"So were giving the animal a little time right now this isn’t uncommon to see," said Nadia Gordan, a marine mammal biologist for the FWC. “When they strand it’s for a reason, they’re sick, they’re dying -- something is not right.”
Despite Gordan's attempts at comforting the crowd, people struggled to cope with the harsh reality of nature, and eventually the whale took its last breath.
"I think it’s good for them to be here, you know and appreciate the life of this whale," Gordan said.
The FWC said there will be a full necropsy, along with tissue testing to figure out why he was sick.