Pilot whale update: Eight confirmed dead

1:07 PM, Jan 21, 2014   |    comments
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A dead pilot whale discovered Tuesday morning in Estero Bay



Fort Myers, Florida (News-Press) -- The eight pilot whales confirmed dead in the Lovers Key State Park area will be necropsied, said Erin Fougeres, marine mammal biologist and stranding program coordinator for NOAA Fisheries.

Two that were euthanized were taken by truck to a lab Monday night, while two more stranded in shallow waters today are being euthanized.

Four were earlier found dead - two by the Lovers Key boat launch Monday night, one on a beach just south of Dog Beach and one in shallow waters.

Six others seen Monday have not been spotted by helicopter or boats.

The Mote Marine Laboratory, Clearwater Marine Aquarium and University of Florida veterinarians are also involved.

Spectators gathered to see a dead whale being loaded up by crane onto a truck to be taken for a necropsy.

An FWC helicopter is flying overhead looking for the seven unaccounted whales.

The 23 pilot whales seen swimming off Marco Island were last seen heading south, but there are no new reports.

Fougeres said the whales should go west to be in their natural habitat.

Kevin Baxter of the Florida Wildlife Research Institute said the state does not know the location of the remaining whales, and that pilots are searching for the main pod in the Gulf of Mexico.

The cause of death for the whales is natural/unknown at this point.

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