Saturday, 22 December 2012

Were People Trying to Ride This Sick Sperm Whale?

Officials in Florida are investigating a report that swimmers might have been trying to ride a sickly sperm whale before it died off the coast of an Atlantic beach.

The 35-foot (10.6-meter) creature was spotted yesterday (Dec. 16) morning just off Pompano Beach and never quite stranded. As it floated close to the shore, a woman from a nearby condo snapped a picture that allegedly shows two people paddling out to the whale and one getting on top of it. That witness told local NBC station WTVJ-TV she saw the swimmers approach the whale twice, adding that she believed the creature was still alive at the time, since she saw its tail flapping.

Her testimony could land those beachgoers in hot water, as close encounters of this kind are illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Blair Mase, NOAA's southeast marine mammal stranding coordinator, explained to LiveScience.

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