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Beached Whale To Be Euthanized

March 10, 1986

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) _ A young humpback whale that apparently beached itself because it was sick will be killed with an injection, scientists said Sunday.

″There just wasn’t any hope for it so there was no reason for it to linger,″ said John Evans, a spokesman for the state Wildlife Department.

Dr. Joanne Lowenstein, a veterinarian from Marineland in Florida, injected the whale with penicillin and antibiotics Sunday afternoon in an effort to allow the creature to rest easier.

″Since then, they’ve been spraying the whale down with water to keep the outer surface comfortable,″ Evans said.

The 35-foot-long, 18-ton whale was to be put to sleep when the tide went out Sunday night, said Dean Cain, a biologist with the Marine Resources Department in Georgetown.

Cain said blood samples taken early Sunday indicated the whale had an infection in its liver or pancreatic tract. Scientists say whales usually beach themselves because they are sick.

The whale got stuck in sand about 100 feet offshore Friday morning. A commercial fishing vessel pulled it nearly a mile out to sea Saturday morning, but the mammal swam a mile southward and beached itself again.

Police estimated the whale brought 100,000 curious people to the area during the weekend.

Humpback whales are on the state and federal endangered species lists. Wildlife officials said it was only the fourth time a humpback whale had beached itself along the East Coast.

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