WAM 644 - Pygmy Sperm Whale (Kogia breviceps)

Live pygmy sperm whale strands on Holden Beach, NC

August 16, 2008 - A live pygmy sperm whale strands on
Holden Beach. Graduate student, Marina Piscitelli records
respiration rates while the interested public looks on.

On August 16, 2008, an adult male Kogia breviceps live stranded in the middle of the night on Ocean Ilse Beach, NC. The night tide took the animal off the beach and was found on the west end of Holden Beach in the early morning. The UNCW stranding team left UNCW early in the morning to respond to the animal. Upon arrival on the beach interested public were pouring water over the animal’s back. We immediately started recording respirations and covered the animal with wet towels.The animal was stretchered to be removed from the beach and to be taken to a veterinary facility. The animal died in transport at 11:04 am.

The UNCW stranding team began the necropsy that afternoon. The animal was moderately emaciated. Necropsy revealed a Crassicauda infestation throughout the entire neck region and significant tracks in the right ear complex.The caudal brain cavity had an ossified dura that created a region of circulation between the brain and the calvarium. These findings were suggestive of inflammation within the brain and ear region from the Crassicauda infestation.Pathology test results are pending and should reveal more information into the cause of the stranding.

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