Earlier this afternoon, the Bald Head Island Conservancy posted the following photo on their Facebook page of a pygmy sperm whale washed on on shore at Bald Head.
They requested that onlookers not approach the whale and advised that a stranding team was responding to the scene.
Approximately 15 minutes later, they posted the following: "update:well meaning people pushed whale in the water now vet help won't be able to help the animal or determine the cause of death. We are now waiting for it to wash back to shore--job much more difficult because of this."
We will update this post when further information is provided.
Update 4:00pm: When the beachgoers discovered the whale, it was still breathing and they were able to push it out to sea. Unfortunately, as of this update, the whale does appear dead and they are waiting to see if it washes back up on shore. You can view some photos of the rescue here.
Update 12/10/2012: The whale did wash back ashore Bald Head Island earlier this afternoon and the stranding team working with the BHI Conservancy staff retrieved the remains for a necropsy
**All photos from BHI Conservancy