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Sperm Whale Dies After Beaching on Sandbar Off Venice on Florida's Gulf Coast

Venice - Monday March 11, 2024: A large male Sperm Whale that got stuck on a sandbar just off Venice Beach died this morning.

On Sunday Local wildlife officials and Venice police tried but failed to free the whale. Sunday night its breathing became labored and authorities said it died about 3 a.m. Monday morning.

The whale measured about 44 feet in length, roughly the size of a large school bus. It weighed as much as 70,000 pounds. The whale's carcass will either towed out to sea, taken to a landfill, or buried, officials said.

An official with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) said that biologists will collect samples to attempt to determine cause of death. It’s expected to take at least two weeks before the results are in.

Although there are an estimated 1,100 sperm whales in the Gulf of Mexico, they are typically found in deep waters and rarely venture close to shore. Only a few such strandings occur each year in the southeast U.S.,

Sperm whales are listed as an endangered species in the U.S.