Most of the stranded pilot whales likely heading into deeper water

By Kyle Johnson,

The Coast Guard reported on Friday that it could only locate nine of the 35 short-finned pilot whales that were stranded in the Florida Everglades, giving rise to the hope that they may have gone further out to sea and into deeper water.

According to the Miami Herald, NOAA marine mammal stranding coordinator Blair Mase saw that being only able to locate a few of the pod was likely good news. "It's encouraging they could not be found; they may have gone out to sea."

Mase did add, "We just don't know the answer to that question. Just knowing the area, it's very remote ... But if they continue to move off shore, that's the best course of action for them."

While most of the remaining whales were likely heading into deeper water, the Coast Guard did find two whales in the shallows near Plover Key. A biologist was heading there to determine their condition in the two feet deep waters. The other seven that were found were in water about 12 to 14 feet deep, but did not seem to be heading anywhere. They were seen swimming in formation, which could be a good sign.

Mase commented, "They are not really moving in any direction; they're just milling about." He continued, "It's hard to know exactly what's going on in the pilot whale's brains. They may have a sick member in the group that they are sticking by."

The Coast Guard discovered the stranded pod on Wednesday and rescue workers from various agencies were doing their best Thursday to convince the remaining whales out to sea.

Unfortunately, 11 from the pod died, with six dying after beaching themselves and the remaining ones needing to be euthanized.

image: Wikimedia Commons


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