Authorities are trying to help a sperm whale beached off Florida's Gulf Coast

This photo provided by City of Venice Florida shows a whale on Sunday, March 10, 2024, off Venice, Fla. Authorities were working to assist a beached sperm whale that is stranded on a sandbar off Florida's Gulf Coast on Sunday morning. (City of Venice Florida via AP)

VENICE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities were seeking to assist a beached sperm whale stranded on a sandbar off Florida's Gulf Coast on Sunday, but said conditions in the water were too dangerous for crews to safely approach and administer a sedative.

The Venice Police Department said in posts on Facebook that the whale was alive on Sunday afternoon after it had beached on a sandbar about 50 yards (45 meters) from Service Club Park.

Due to high winds and surf, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation biologists have determined that a response Monday with weather conditions more favorable will be their best option. As of Sunday evening, the whale was still alive, but had labored breathing.

A perimeter had been set up to allow authorities to assess the whale's condition at the site in Venice, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of Tampa. The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and staff from Mote Marine Laboratory were assisting, the police department said in an initial post.

An afternoon post by Venice police said officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission considered the water conditions still too dangerous to approach the whale, which was estimated to be about 50 feet (15 meters) long. A police Facebook post earlier Sunday had said the whale was 70 feet (21 meters) long.

Police said authorities would make another assessment of conditions at low tide Sunday evening but that hopes of aiding the whale were dwindling. “Unfortunately it appears this will likely be a recovery effort as nature takes its course," the post said.

Police said they would be present at the beach through the night.