Sperm whale beached on Oak Island

OAK ISLAND, NC (WITN) - Authorities are trying to figure out what to do after a sperm whale beached itself on a North Carolina beach.

WECT-TV says the young whale was first reported on Oak Island around 9:45 a.m.

William McLellan, coordinator for the UNCW marine mammal stranding program, told WECT that the whale is "terribly emaciated" and is approximately 2-3 years old.

"Having it here in the surf is a place the animal should never be," said McLellan. These types of whales usually live at least 200 miles offshore.

The whale weighs between 25,000 and 30,000 pounds, so McLellan says pushing it back out to sea would be difficult. Another option would be to take it to rehab, while a third option is to euthanize it.

The station says hundreds of people showed up to see the whale once word spread of it being beached.