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70,000-Lb. Sperm Whale Beached on Florida Coast Dies Despite Rescue Efforts, Officials Say

70,000-Lb. Sperm Whale Beached on Florida Coast Dies Despite Rescue Efforts, Officials Say

Authorities say the 44-foot-long whale may have been ill

<p>Venice Police Department/ Facebook</p> The beached sperm whale in Venice, Fla.

Venice Police Department/ Facebook

The beached sperm whale in Venice, Fla.

A large sperm whale that became stranded on a Venice, Florida, beach over the weekend has died, police said.

On Sunday morning, the Venice Police Department announced that the local beach Service Club Park would be closed after a 44-foot-long male sperm whale had beached itself on a sandbar, according to the City of Venice.

Several groups — including the Venice PD, Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) — worked together to assist the male whale. According to the FWC, the whale was ill and the commission have taken samples to further investigate its health, per local affiliate station FOX 35.

<p>Venice Police Department/ Facebook</p> The sperm whale on the beach in Venice. Fla.

Venice Police Department/ Facebook

The sperm whale on the beach in Venice. Fla.

On Sunday afternoon, Venice PD shared another update to its Facebook page, writing that water conditions were too rough for rescue workers to approach the whale and give it a sedative. The city advised residents and boaters to stay away from the area and announced that the beach would be closed as authorities tried to help the whale.

“The whale is estimated to be approximately 50 feet and 50,000-70,000 pounds. Another assessment will be made at low tide, shortly after 7 tonight,” police wrote Sunday. “Unfortunately it appears this will likely be a recovery effort as nature takes its course.”

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<p>Venice Police Department/ Facebook</p> The beached sperm whale in Venice, Fla.

Venice Police Department/ Facebook

The beached sperm whale in Venice, Fla.

The fact that the whale even approached the beach was a negative sign for some experts — according to the National Geographic, sperm whales are known to dive over 3,000 feet in search of squid to eat and generally live deep in the sea. The size of this whale was average for a sperm, as the massive mammals usually weigh between 35 to 45 tons and measure anywhere from 49 to 59 feet long.

According to another local station FOX 13, the whale washed up even closer to the shore early Monday morning, and officials were planning on euthanizing the animal if it survived the night.

On Monday morning, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Chief of Marine Mammal Branch Laura Engleby announced during a press conference that the whale had died overnight.

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“It sort of takes a village, really, for an effort like this,” Engleby told reporters at the beachside conference, noting that on average, about two sperm whales are beached in the Gulf and Atlantic ocean per year. “It’s a rare event, and obviously this whale wasn’t, you know, feeling very well and wasn’t doing very well to be this close to shore and in this kind of condition.”

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“It looks thin,” she said. “So certainly we’ll be investigating as much as we can to understand what contributed to its death, and then also, at the same time, learn as much as we can about sperm whales.”

Wildlife agencies are set to attempt to tie rope to the whale's tail to pull it on-shore to do a necropsy, Engleby added.

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