Whale washes up on beach in Cameron Parish

Sperm whale washes up on little Florida beach.
(Source: Theresa Schmidt / KPLC)
(Source: Theresa Schmidt / KPLC)
(Source: Google Maps)
(Source: Google Maps)

CAMERON PARISH, LA (KPLC) - A dead whale was found washed up on Little Florida Beach in Cameron Parish Wednesday.

Little Florida Beach is west of Holly Beach.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries agents believe it to be a sperm whale -, 23 feet long.  It it is believed to be a calf.

It was a sight lifetime residents of little Florida beach say they'd never seen before. Their wonder, mixed with sadness that the massive creature, still only a young sperm whale had met its end on their beach.

Resident Joyce Miller found it amazing.

"I got texts from my friends that are here at the beach and said go see the whale. It was amazing. I saw it at a distance and couldn't believe it was so huge," she said.

"I grew up along Highway 82, along the beach and it's a first for me," said Resident Brenda Burroughs.

It was first discovered by residents Wednesday morning and within 24 hours marine biologists with state wildlife and fisheries were rushing to the scene to begin research.  They took numerous samples in a process some would find to gory to see in video.

Marine Biologist Mandy Tomlin said they hope to find out why the whale became stranded.

"These animals don't generally wash up. So, any dead animal is very important in learning more about these species.  This is not an animal that washes up very often so we're out here and we're working with an extensive sampling protocol that's been provided by NOAA so that we can obtain samples and hopefully figure out why this animal died and, if not, it can teach us some general information about the sperm whale itself,"said Tumlin.

The coordinator for Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle stranding and rescue says it's critical for people to report it when they see a stranded mammal or turtle.  Tumlin will take such calls at 337-962-7092.

Meanwhile residents worried how the remains would be disposed of in a way to prevent any lingering problems.

"I'm worried about what bacteria might be leaching into the ground, if it's left there.  I'm hoping it will be taken off shore, tied to abandoned rig and let the sharks eat it,"said Burroughs.

Late in the afternoon the young sperm whale's remains were buried deep in the sand, leaving many here sad that the magnificent creature had met its end.

We await word as to researchers findings.

Copyright 2016 KPLC. All rights reserved.