THE juvenile melon-headed whale found stranded on Manzanilla Beach on Thursday was euthanised by veterinarians shortly after midnight yesterday, after it was determined it could not be saved.
Veterinarian Dr Carla Phillips, head of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, said the whale showed several signs of a fatal illness.
Phillips said, "An animal that usually finds itself stranded is usually dying, and the most humane thing to do is to euthanise it."
Phillips, along with other veterinarians, examined the whale shortly after 11 p.m. on Thursday on Manzanilla Beach, and made the decision to euthanise.
"We made an evaluation and we realised that it was such a poor prognosis that the humane thing to do was to put the animal to sleep. Before the animal beached itself, it was already dying," said Phillips.
Some of the signs of the whale's illness, Phillips said, were the greenish liquid coming through its blowhole, a rapid respiratory rate, and that it was unable to support itself in the water.
She said the greenish fluid suggested the whale had regurgitated some of its food and it was coming out through the blowhole.
"It is like vomiting and then inhaling some of the vomit," she said.
Phillips said that a partial necropsy was performed yesterday at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex at the School of Veterinary Medicine in Mt Hope.
She said an abnormal number of worms was also found in its stomach.
Some 20 tissue samples were taken from its organs to be tested.
When the whale was found near Kernahan Village on Trinidad's east coast, several persons failed to coax it back into open water.
Phillips said she was concerned by the interaction.
"There are a number of diseases that can be passed on from these animals to humans when they interact with them. Many of them (the whales) may harbour organisms and if you interact with them carelessly, you are potentially exposing your body to harmful organisms."
She suggested trained wildlife officials take the lead.
The necropsy would continue on Monday.