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Posted: November 14, 2013 10:13 a.m.

Pygmy whale stranded on Jekyll Island euthanized

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Georgia Department of Natural Resources officials say a pygmy sperm whale that was stranded on Jekyll Island last month had a digestive tract that was blocked by two pieces of plastic sheeting.

Department biologist Clay George told the Savannah Morning News it's unclear if the whale became stranded because of the blockage, disease or both.

The nearly 11-foot long whale was euthanized and also tested positive for morbillivirus, which has caused dolphin deaths along the East Coast this year.

George says department officials will collect tissue samples from dolphins that may become stranded in the future to determine whether the virus is becoming more prevalent near the Georgia coast.

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