February 25, 2008 in Nation/World

Stranded whale at rehab center

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review
Associated Press photo

Marine mammal rescue volunteers examine a pygmy sperm whale Sunday at the Marine Mammal Conservancy in Key Largo, Fla. Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

KEY LARGO, Fla. – A pygmy sperm whale found stranded off the Florida Keys was in critical condition at a rehabilitation center on Sunday.

The 10 1/2 -foot long male was discovered Saturday off Islamorada and transferred to the Marine Mammal Conservancy in Key Largo.

“We’ve taken blood work, cultures, sent off blood to test for viruses and have done an electrocardiogram,” said Robert Lingenfelser, the center’s president. “We’ve got endoscopes and ultrasound scheduled, so we still have a lot of testing to do on this guy to find out exactly what is going on.”

The roughly 1,000-pound whale was swimming a little on his own.

“He’s still dehydrated,” Lingenfelser said. “We’re giving him fluids every four hours and giving him a bit of a fish soup to start putting protein in him.”

Volunteers will be with the whale 24 hours a day helping to support and comfort him in the rehabilitation lagoon.

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