Beached whale found off coast

MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. - Wildlife officials say they plan to euthanize a beached sperm whale found off Madeira Beach.

The Tampa Tribune reported the whale was near death when it was found stranded about 20 feet offshore just north of St. Johns Pass on Thursday morning.

Biologists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission went to the beach to assist after the agency was alerted.

Spokesman Kevin Baxter says the whale had not moved in a "significant way" in several hours. He says the whale is a deep water species and is not supposed to be close to the shore.

Baxter says the whale is emaciated, with its ribs and skull visible.

While he says it would likely die on its own, the agency planned to euthanize it later Thursday.

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