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2 Released Pilot Whales Swimming Strong

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CUDJOE KEY (CBS4) – Two of seven previously stranded pilot whales are swimming strong in the Florida Straits. The mammals were released Saturday from the lower Florida Keys.

 Satellite tags were placed on the whales’ dorsal fin for tracking, which should last two to three months.

They and 19 other whales washed ashore Thursday near Cudjoe Key. Fourteen died. The remaining five survivors are being cared for in a temporary sea pen; two are in critical condition.

Officials hope to eventually move the recovering whales to the Marine Mammal Conservancy in Key Largo.

Necropsy results on the whales that died won’t be known for at least a month.

Pilot whales are native to the area and tend to strand themselves in groups when they are disoriented, confused, sick or injured.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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