MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – A total of eight pilot whales have died in the waters off the state’s southwest coast Tuesday, and a total of six remain unaccounted for Tuesday.
The Coast Guard temporarily closed the area to traffic in the area and ordered boaters to reduce speeds off the shores near Fort Myers as they searched for the other whales. Of the eight deceased whales, veterinarians euthanized four of them.READ MORE: COVID In Florida: 2,805 New Cases, 97 Additional Deaths Reported Tuesday
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service coordinator Blair Mase said necropsies will be performed on the dead whales, four of which died Monday, including two that were euthanized.
In December, more than 50 pilot whales stranded in Everglades National Park. Several died.READ MORE: UF Will No Longer Require Masks On Campus
Farther south, officials had been monitoring another two dozen pilot whales off the coast of Collier County, but Mase said those whales were last seen about two miles offshore Monday. She said the local sheriff’s aerial team would monitor their path.
Pilot whales live in deep water and usually make their home at least 20 miles off the coast ofFlorida, so when they swim inland, that’s often a sign they are suffering from some kind of toxicity or disease, Mase said. These whales tend to travel in pods of a couple dozen or more and follow one or two leaders, or navigators.
“They have a very tightknit social structure, which helps them survive normally, but if two swim in to shore, the others will follow,” she said.MORE NEWS: Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs Executive Order Pardoning All COVID-Related Charges & Arrests
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