FT. PIERCE (CBSMiami) – One of the five whales who survived a mass stranding on a South Florida park beach has died at Ft. Pierce rehab center.
FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute’s Rehabilitation Center continues to treat the remaining four juvenile whales who survived.
The whales were just five of 22 short-finned pilot whales which beached themselves Saturday at Avalon State Park Beach in St. Lucie County.
Harbor Branch vets said the whale that died was one of the males that appeared to be in fairly stable condition at approximately 10 a.m. on Sunday, but his health declined rapidly. The whale died Monday afternoon.
The four remaining whales have inflammation and evidence of stress and infection which is not uncommon in stranded marine mammals. They add that since they are juveniles they are still developing their immune system. Experiencing stress due to being out of their natural environment and social structure could result of their immune systems being compromised.
Harbor Branch hopes to stabilize the remaining four whales so they can be taken to SeaWorld Orlando where they can continue their rehabilitation. The ultimate goal is to get them healthy again so they can be released back in the ocean.