Subject: Whale Shot: Minke Whale

Michael Williamson (
Thu, 13 Mar 1997 12:52:17 -0500 (EST)

Date: Wed, 12 Mar 97 14:19:00 GMT 
Subject: Whale Shot

Whale Shot

   KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) -- Wildlife officials believe a four-ton
Minke whale grounded itself in the Florida Keys because someone
shot it at least five times.
   The whale died last week and a necropsy revealed five bullet
   "You'd like to think it never happens, it's just fantastical
stories people tell," Becky Barron, director of Wildlife Rescue of
the Florida Keys, told The Miami Herald for today's editions. "But
unfortunately here's very graphic evidence that it does happen."
   National Marine Fisheries Service special agent Logan Gregory
said this is the first time he has investigated the shooting of a
marine mammal. He wouldn't tell the newspaper what kind of
ammunition was used.
   The whale was discovered last Wednesday, stranded in the
shallows off Big Pine Key. The 30-foot creature was too big to take
to an enclosure for treatment..
   "The only thing you could do was move it into deep water or
just watch it die because its body weight was crushing its own
organs," Barron said.
   The whale managed to travel about two miles before dying. Its
remains were found Thursday. The necropsy found it probably died
from the pressure on its organs.
   "The bullets may have caused it to come in close to shore,"
Barron said. "Some of the bullets were beginning to abscess in
there. No matter how big you are, five bullets in you are bound to
do something."
   There are believed to be about 500,000 Minke whales in the
world. Black on top and white underneath, they migrate from polar
feeding grounds to subtropical waters to breed.