False Killer Whales Die In The Everglades After Pod Becomes Stranded

Melba UnderwoodJan 18, 2017

According to NOAA information, false killer whales usually swim in large groups. The event is the largest stranding of these whales ever recorded in Florida, officials say.

Adult false killer whales can weigh approximately 1,500 pounds.

The whales were stranded off Hog Key in Everglades National Park over the weekend.

Miami reports 81 total whales have perished just off the area of Hog Key at the Everglades National Park. Blair Mase, coordinator for NOAA's southeast mammal stranding network said, "the whales were deeply embedded in some of the mangroves making response efforts extremely hard". Blair Mase, a stranding coordinator with NOAA, told the Miami Herald that the dolphins were "deeply embedded in some of the mangroves making response efforts extremely hard". Seventy-two were found dead and 10 were euthanized by veterinarians on the scene after being found in poor condition. She added the location was "very, very challenging".

It is now unclear why the massive stranding occurred.

Biologists and responders from numerous agencies including NOAA, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the National Park Service will try to find the unaccounted dolphins in Everglades National Park and determine the cause of death using samples collected during post-mortem examination.

Local marine biologist Stefanie Wolf told FOX 4 Now that one theory behind the stranding could be due to the pod getting lost and entangled in the area's thick maze of mangroves. They are also found in all tropical oceans across the globe.

It can take months for results to come back and even then, a cause of stranding is not guaranteed, according to Mote.

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