KEY LARGO (CBS4) – The last of nearly two dozen pilot whales that became stranded off the Florida Keys last May will not be released back into the wild because it has developed scoliosis.

Erin Fougeres, an administrator with the National Marine Fisheries Service, told The Key West Citizen the whale developed the condition while being treated at the Marine Mammal Conservancy in Key Largo. She says it is common during rehabilitation.

The whale, a female adult, also still has some lingering effects of pneumonia.

Fougeres says officials are concerned the whale would not be able to dive or forage for food.

Instead, the mammal will likely go to a facility such as SeaWorld.

A calf has already been sent there. The adult is the last of the whales at the rehabilitation facility.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (2)
  1. Sara Keltie says:

    How dare they call this place a rehabilitation facility? You put a wild animal into captivity where it’s movements were completely restricted, and you are suprised? Would you lock a person in a closet and expect their spine to be healthy? Sounds like this was Sea Worlds plan all along.

  2. Diana Bolton says:

    As part of the original rescue group, I have been following the whale’s progress with great concern. We followed instructions from the mammal experts and did as we were told. Apparently we should have treated these poor creatures differently. But how?the ones we released back in deep water IS the success story. What have we learned?

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