11:56AM UPDATE: BEACHED MELON HEADED WHALE EUTHANIZED
-Marine mammal experts say the whale was in bad shape and tell News 5 this particular, deepwater species does not do well in rehab.
-Experts say euthanizing the animal was the most humane way to deal with the situation.
-Melon-headed whale sightings and beachings are extremely rare in Coastal Alabama because the animals are deepwater creatures.
After vacationers rallied together to keep it alive for a final few hours, marine experts have euthanized a melon-headed whale that beached itself at Gulf Shores this morning.
Officials from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab arrived around 11:00am and transferred the whale to the Gulf Shores Fire Station. An inspection of the whale revealed that it was suffering from an illness or internal injury.
Sea lab officials said they were forced to do the most humane thing possible and end its suffering.
The body of the deep sea whale, relatively rare for a beach sighting, will be taken to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab for a necropsy.
The whale was discovered shortly after sunrise this morning by a group of bystanders. After attracting attention, a group of vacationers — including a veterinarian — assisted in keeping it alive in the water while marine wildlife crews rushed to the scene.
More tonight on News 5 at 5PM and 6PM.