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Stranded Whale May Be Killed if Not Moved to Deep Water

March 17, 1992

HOUMA, La. (AP) _ Biologists said Tuesday they may have to kill an emaciated whale stranded in a lake only about five feet deep if efforts to move it into deep water fail.

″My best guess is it’s dying and there’s nothing we can do,″ said Richard Martin, a zoologist with the state’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

The Sei whale, 45 feet long and weighing 50 to 70 tons, was so weak it could hardly swim, Martin said.

State biologist Marty Bourgeois said two crab fishermen spotted the whale Friday in Lake Felicity, about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans. Three boats of fishermen and biologists herded it toward deeper water before losing it.

It was spotted Sunday further inland in Lake Pelto, partially separated from the Gulf of Mexico by an island.

″She was lying on her side, she had become so weak,″ Bourgeois said.

The whale resisted efforts Tuesday to herd it into deeper water. Martin said it might have to be killed to keep it from suffering.

Sei whales range from the Arctic to the coast of Venezuela, biologists said.

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