dozens of False Killer Whales die in south Florida everglades national park

Dozens Of False Killer Whales Die After Getting Stranded Off South Florida

Over 80 false killer whales have been reported dead after becoming stranded off south Florida’s Everglades National Park.

The false killer whales, which are actually part of the dolphin family and named so because of their resemblance to killer whales, were first spotted on Saturday. Several agencies attempted to rescue the animals after the pod of nearly 100 become stranded. However, the attempts were unsuccessful as 81 false killer whales have been found dead. Rescuers are still searching for a reported 13 animals, according to Fox News.

While one false killer whale was found alive, Fox News reported officials had to euthanize nine as they were too sick to survive.

“Officials said that 72 of the stranded false killer whales died on their own, 9 were euthanized, 13 were unaccounted for and one whale was seen alive.”

While rescuers continue to search for any animals that may still be alive, it’s been reported they do not yet know what caused the pod to become stranded. However, Fox News reported biologists will work to determine what killed the 81 false killer whales.

“As of Monday, there was no word on what sparked the mass stranding but NOAA Fisheries Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Network coordinator Blair Mase told FL Keys News that biologists will examine the dead mammals to determine the cause.”

A local source, the Miami Herald, has stated the death of the 81 false killer whales marks the largest for the breed in Florida.

“It is the largest recorded stranding of such whales in Florida, officials said.”

The site reported rescuers attempted to herd the false killer whales back to deeper water, but they were forced to stop once the sun set.

“…tried to herd some of the whales to deeper water as daylight faded, said Blair Mase, the stranding network coordinator.”

When the teams returned the next day, Sunday, shallow water and vegetation hampered their efforts.

“They returned on Sunday and tried again, but were hampered by the shallow muddy flats and a shoreline tangled with mangroves.”

The Herald continues to describe what the rescue efforts entailed as officials worked to free the stranded false killer whales. Among shallow, muddy water, they found the animals had entrapped themselves among the mangroves.

“The whales, which included adults, juveniles and calves, were ‘deeply embedded in some of the mangroves making response efforts extremely difficult.'”

But the difficulties didn’t end there as would-be rescuers had to deal with a lack of cell phone reception and sharks.

“Lack of cellphone service also complicated the rescue attempt, she said. The crews also had to deal with sharks.”

The Herald also stated that while false killer whales do have a history with becoming stranded, it’s been years since the last occurrence.

“…the last occurred in 1986 when a pod of 40 swam close to Cedar Key, but only three stranded themselves.”

dozens of False Killer Whales die in south Florida everglades national park
[Image by DebraMcGuire/ Thinkstock Photos]

While this past weekend marks one of the largest pods becoming stranded, it’s not the largest ever recorded as the Herald states over 800 whales became breached in Argentina in 1946.

“The largest stranding on record occurred in 1946 in Argentina, when 835 whales beached themselves.”

A Twitter account dedicated to finding solutions to marine animal strandings seems to be blaming ‘big oil’ for this latest occurrence.

“Once again we have massive mass stranding near the seismic survey (BGP Pioneer), will @NOAA @NOAAFish_SERO investigate the connection?”

The account replied to people asking how the false killer whales became stranded as it put blame on seismic activity caused by a survey.

“seismic survey by Big Oil & NOAA’s inability to rescue even one whale, thats what happened”

Other Twitter users chimed in saying things such as “so sad” and asking “Could anything have helped this? Any knowledge of what caused it.”

[Featured Image by chameleonseye/Thinkstock Photos]