25 Pilot Whales Found Dead in Florida; Officials Begin Necropsies

Categories: Animal Planet

short-finned-pilot-whales2.jpg
via Wikimedia Commons
Sadly, Florida has seen a lot of pilot whales wash ashore or beach themselves in the past couple of months. Last Sunday, 25 pilot whales were found dead off the shores of Kice Island, in the southwest part of the state.

On Friday, a team of biologists began performing necropsies on the dead whales to determine what exactly killed them.

Just last December, 51 pilot whales were found stranded in the Florida Everglades.

See also: Dead Short-Finned Pilot Whales Suffered From Malnutrition

The 25 whales -- 16 males and nine females -- were spotted by boaters on Sunday after the high tide came in. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the whales may have been pushed toward the shore by the recent cold snap.

On Tuesday, an initial necropsies showed that these whales had suffered from malnutrition, just as the pilot whales that were found last month in the Everglades did.

Two days before the 25 whales were discovered, eight other pilot whales were found dead about 40 miles from Kice at Lover's Key State Park.

According to NOAA's website, pilot whales are the most common whale that mass-strands itself in Florida.

Back in October, we wrote about how aquatic live, including whales and dolphins, could be killed within the next five years via Navy military tests near the Gulf of Mexico.

Sonar, specifically, threatens the animals by disrupting their foraging and forcing them to abandon their habitat or beach themselves. It confuses the animals, often making them swim in different directions.

According to a recent environmental-impact statement from the military, computer models estimated a total of 186 whales and dolphins dying or being injured off the East Coast.

The report also said there could be as many as 11,267 serious injuries to sea life and 1.89 million minor ones, including hearing loss.

While we don't know for sure what killed this pod, it's something to seriously consider.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it usually takes several weeks for the results of the cause of death to be determined.


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