KEY WEST, Fla., Aug. 23 (UPI) — A 12-foot whale cared for in Florida after being stranded needs a new home because federal officials have declared the animal non-releasable back to the wild.
The 1,800-pound pilot whale, injured in a May stranding off the Florida Keys, is being rehabilitated at the Marine Mammal Conservancy facility in Key Largo.
“The whale is showing signs of improvement but is unlikely to completely recover,” Erin Fougeres of National Marine Fisheries Service told the Florida Keys Keynoter.
Because the female whale suffers from scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, and has lung damage, she would be “unable to dive and forage on her own,” Fougeres said.
The Fisheries Service says it is accepting adoption applications from marine-mammal parks that have the proper rehabilitation facilities.
Marine-mammal activists contend the whale cannot swim on her own and are urging that she be euthanized.