ORLANDO (CBSMiami) — Four young pilot whales who survived a mass stranding on a Florida beach are now being cared for at SeaWorld Orlando.
The juvenile whales were among 22 short-finned pilot whales that beached Saturday at Avalon State Park Beach in St. Lucie County.
The whales, one male and three females, were transported from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute’s Rehabilitation Center in Ft. Pierce to SeaWorld Orlando on Wednesday morning.
On arrival at SeaWorld Orlando, the young whales were placed in a quarantine area. They will continue to receive round-the-clock care from veterinarians and animal rescue staff. The whales, ranging in size from 130 to 325 pounds, are still in guarded condition. One of the whales, a female, is so young her teeth have not yet developed. SeaWorld’s animal experts plan to tube-feed the three older whales until they are able to eat fish.
At this time it is unclear why the group of whales stranded. Necropsies have been conducted on the deceased animals to determine possible causes.
The ultimate goal is to get the surviving whales healthy again so they can be released back in the ocean.