Mysterious mass stranding of a pod of pilot whales prompts study
Eleven of the pilot whales found dead in the Florida Keys were found to be emaciated and suffering from malnutrition, according to federal officials Monday.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stranding coordinator Blair Mase said the whales’ empty bellies could be a result of disease or of being out of the deep, cooler waters that form their natural habitat.
A pod of 51 whales was found stranded on a remote Everglades beach. Some died, some went back out to deeper water. Samples will be collected to see if the whales were sick which may account for their malnutrition or if they died because they were lacking food. It may be hard to tell.
Pilot whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, but they are not endangered. Mass strandings are not uncommon in Florida but they are worrisome.