Rescuers Cheer as Two Pilot Whales Beached in Florida Keys Return to Deeper Water
Last Thursday, 20 pilot whales mysteriously beached themselves in the Florida Keys and volunteers rushed to their rescue. Their efforts paid off for two of those whales on Saturday when the animals were released back into deeper waters off the coast of Florida.
Read and see more at WPBF.com, a local news station based in West Palm Beach.
After blood tests were conducted on the two male whales, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary determined that the animals were healthy enough to be released. They were transported by barge 9 miles off the Keys and released, swimming off together to the cheers of volunteers.
Some of the whales weren’t as lucky; 13 died and are scheduled for necropsies. But the surviving whales continue to fight for their lives with the help of volunteers. The Miami Herald reports that volunteers from diverse backgrounds have been working around the clock in shifts under the supervision of marine mammal experts to keep the whales calm and hydrated in a temporary sea pen.
According to Karrie Carnes, a spokesperson for the marine sanctuary, the whales are being fed water, rehydration solutions and a “seafood slushy.” Volunteers covered the whales with white towels and zinc and splashed them with water to protect their sensitive skin from the sun.
“The sun is their enemy,” Carnes said. “Very quickly their skin can burn and blister.”
Photo Credits: Mariela Care/Florida Keys News Bureau via Getty Images | Julie Botteri/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO (2) |