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Rare melon-headed whale dies on Trinidad beach

The melon-headed whale became stranded and beached itself on the eastern coast of the Caribbean island of Trinidad.

Melon headed whales 2013 03 15Enlarge
Melon-headed whales (NOAA/Courtesy)

A stranded melon-headed whale died today after beaching itself on the Caribbean island of Trinidad.

Rarely spotted by humans, melon-headed whales typically prefer deep waters.

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But a young, 7-foot-long whale beached itself on the eastern coast of Trinidad late Thursday and resisted several efforts to bring it back to sea, The Associated Press reported.

The whale died early Friday. A necropsy was planned.

Game warden Pretam Khemraj told the Trinidad Express he and three of his colleagues braved rough seas and strong currents in their six attempts to take the animal out to sea.

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Area residents also poured buckets of seawater onto the whale to keep its skin moist.

Game warden Jack Kisto told the newspaper it was instinct that kept the animal returning.

"These whales travel in groups and if they get separated from the group, they tend to head to shore," he said. "Or when they are sick and feel like they might be about to die, they also head to shore."

Melon-headed whales live deep in tropical waters and feed largely upon squid. They can grow to be up to 10 feet long and live for nearly 30 years.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/130315/melon-headed-whale-dies-trinidad-beach