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22 Whales Beached At South Florida State Park

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FORT PIERCE (CBSMiami) — Rescuers are struggling to help a pod of pilot whales that beached at a South Florida state park.

Twenty-two whales, including adults and juveniles, came ashore Saturday morning at Avalon Beach State Park.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed that, of the 22 whales, only 5 are alive.

NOAA reported the surviving whales were taken to Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute for rehabilitation.

The whales that died will be taken to the lab to determine their cause of death, said NOAA.

Officials from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission continue to triage the whales to determine which can be saved and which may have to be euthanized. It’s unclear why the whales became stranded.

The whales vary in age and are known for being very social. They range between 18 to 24 feet in length and weigh between 2,200 and 6,600 pounds.

TCPalm reports there were at least four calves in the stranded pod and officials said they have the best chance at survival.

Hundreds of residents came to the beach to assist with the rescue, helping the animals turn upright so they can breathe better and pouring water over them.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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