Beached Sperm Whale Dies After Beaching Along Florida’s Gulf Coast

This photo provided by City of Venice Florida shows a whale on Sunday, March 10, 2024, off Venice, Fla. Authorities were working to assist a beached sperm whale that is stranded on a sandbar off Florida's Gulf Coast on Sunday morning. (City of Venice Florida via AP)

(AP) — A sperm whale that became famous after beaching itself on a sandbar along Florida’s Gulf Coast died Monday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a statement.

Police and wildlife officials began trying to free the male whale from the shallow sandbar off the beach in Venice on Sunday morning. They had estimated it to be about 70 feet (21 meters) long. Biologists confirmed Monday that it was actually 44 feet (13 meters) long, the agency said.

By Sunday evening, the whale suffered from labored breathing and died around 3 a.m. Monday. The biologists had a difficult time helping it Sunday because of water conditions.

Biologists will collect samples to determine the cause of death, which could take several weeks.

Venice is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of Tampa.

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