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The death toll of pilot whales found beached in the shallow waters of Florida’s southwest coast has now reached eight, authorities said Tuesday.
According to the Associated Press, the Coast Guard had to temporarily close the area to water traffic and ordered boaters to reduce speeds off the shores near Fort Myers as they searched for other whales. Of the eight deceased whales, veterinarians had to euthanize four that were in very poor health.
It is not known what caused the whales to beach themselves and the fact that they swam so far inland from their normal depths has marine biologists puzzled and worried.
News-Press reports that veterinarians from the Mote Marine Laboratory, Clearwater Marine Aquarium and University of Florida are also involved in finding the missing pod and determining how the whales died.
In December, dozens of short-finned pilot whales got stranded in the Florida Everglades. Many died after beaching themselves and the few remaining ones had to be euthanized.