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Can beached pilot whales be released?

2:29 PM, Sep 16, 2012   |    comments
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A pod of pilot whales came ashore Saturday, September 1 at Avalon Beach State Park in St. Lucie County.

HUTCHINSON ISLAND, Fla. (AP) - Animal experts are looking to see if they can release four young pilot whales that beached themselves on North Hutchinson Island.

The four were part of a larger group of about 20 found on Sept. 1. Stuart News reports they remain in stable condition, but stranding coordinator Blair Mase-Guthrie says it's too soon to tell if the whales can be released.

The newspaper reports that pilot whales are the marine mammals that most often strand themselves in Florida. The bodies of the pilot whales that died earlier this month revealed they were malnourished and some had heavy infestations of marine parasites in their nasal cavities.

Scientists believe the whales strand themselves when a strong group leader gets sick and the rest follow it ashore.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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