Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network

Dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals through rescue and rehabilitation, research and education.

Please note: All of the TMMSN conservation efforts are supported entirely by voluntary donations and grants. If you would like to support our marine mammal rescue and recovery work please visit our wish list, where you can donate needed items or make a tax-deductible cash contribution. We are currently in need of scalpel blades, necropsy tools, disinfectant, whirl packs, and gloves--the specific kinds are listed on our wish list with links to the particular items.

26' Sperm Whale Recovered by the TMMSN

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June 16, 2008 Update

On Tuesday evening, June 10th a report was received of a beached whale in Port Aransas, TX. Tony Amos, the local TMMSN coordinator for the region responded immediately to find a large Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) in the surf alive. As protocol in these situations, we notified National Marine Fisheries Service to determine our response. With their past experience on many different methods and responses used for large whale strandings, it was decided that the most humane thing to do for the animal was euthanasia. Specific instruction from NMFS on how to carry this out were followed by the veterinarian. Although it was difficult for those present, it was the best decision for this animal. Sperm whales such as this one are present in the gulf, but do not usually come to shore unless they are injured or ill. There were no obvious physical injuries on the whale, however, the whale was emaciated.

On Wednesday morning, we all began the daunting task of a full necropsy and dis-articulation of the sperm whale on the beach. TMMSN volunteers from Galveston, Port Aransas and Corpus Christi went about the necropsy in a meticulous and organized manner. The whale was approx. 26 ft. in length and estimated at 8 tons. I believe this is one of the largest and more difficult projects TMMSN volunteers have undertaken and we would like to recognize them for their outstanding efforts. The Beach Operations dept. also did an amazing job with their assistance in providing large equipment to lift the skeleton and dispose of remains properly. After two full days of working at our hardest the necropsy was complete and samples will be sent out for analysis. The full skeleton was brought back to Galveston for cleaning and articulation. The entire skeleton will become part of the TMMSN Museum Exhibit.

Once again, thank you for all of your efforts and hard work on this project!  A list of volunteers who contributed to the recovery effort on the beach is below.  Please forgive us if we have left anyone out, it was a hectic three days, and once again we appreciate the support of our volunteers and the public.

And a big "THANK YOU" to the following people for their help with the necropsy!

Tony Amos
Errol Ronje
Tim Tristan
Amanda Terry
Heidi Whitehead
Lea Walker
Lisa Coffer
Ken Brown
Kate Morgan
Kenneth Rainer
Drew Scerbo
Candice Mottett
Sunny Hart
Rachel Ghidoni
Courtney Lee
April Anderson
Ben Russell
Emily Gillespie
Nikki Hughes
Dave Cox
Valerie Cox
Stephanie Walker
Theresa Mitchell
Dixie Keil
Todd Jensen & Ozzy
City of Port Aransas Beach Operations