HANOVER, Jamaica - A major multi-agency operation, with the expertise of local independent water sport operators, successfully rescued a sperm whale that had stranded itself in the vicinity of the Azul Beach Resort in Negril at about 8 this morning.
"Marine mammal strandings are rare in Jamaica. The cause of the stranding may have been due to a storm last night, causing the whale to be disoriented and venturing into shallow waters where it got trapped," a release from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) , said.
After receiving a report of the mammal stranding, a team was quickly assembled comprising representatives from NEPA, Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Veterinary Services Division, Jamaica Defence Force coastguard, Negril Area Environmental Protection Trust, Jamaica Constabulary Marine police, Negril community stakeholders, veterinary experts from Dolphin Cove and Ms. Christine O'Sullivan, a local marine mammal expert affiliated with UTECH.
The animal was rescued two hours later at about 10:30 a.m.
"The response team received a report that the Negril community group, including water sports operators from Stanley's Sea Sports, rotated the animal to face deeper waters allowing for the animal to free itself," a representative of NEPA said.
"The animal was then escorted through channels in the reef and back out to sea."
NEPA thanked everyone involved who coordinated the effort and were willing to travel long distances to assist.
"Most importantly, we acknowledge the team of watersport operators and volunteers who did a tremendous job in resucing the whale and escorting it to deeper waters," NEPA said.