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National Briefing | FLORIDA

Rare whale, stranded, is convalescing

June 22, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

A team of Navy audiologists conducted a hearing test on a rare whale, tentatively identified as a Gervais' or Sowerby's beaked whale, that is convalescing at the Marine Mammal Conservancy in Key Largo in the Florida Keys.

The whale was discovered Friday in shallow waters behind a home in Islamorada.

Dorian Houser, a consulting biologist with the Navy Marine Mammal Program in San Diego, and Navy staff scientist James Finneran made a trip to the conservancy to establish a hearing baseline measure for the whale -- something that has only been done once for a Gervais' and never for a Sowerby's.

"These animals are very rare," Houser said. "Usually when you find one stranded, it's dead."

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