UPDATE: More Pilot Whales Are Found Dead, Remaining Whales Go Missing
UPDATE at 2:30 PM ET, Monday, December 9: Just when it looked like the stranded pilot whales were making their way back home, bad news has emerged: 11 more pilot whales were found dead in the Florida Keys.
The remaining 29 whales were was last seen Friday and have been missing ever since, according to the US Coast Guard. Now, officials don’t believe any of the whales from the initial pod are alive.
"Given our knowledge of past mass pilot whales strandings, the outlook for finding the remaining whales alive is bleak," said Coast Guard officials in a statement, as reported by Reuters.
Thirty-five pilot whales are swimming toward deeper waters, despite initial concerns that they would die after getting stranded off Florida's Everglades National Park.
About 51 pilot whales were stranded off the coast sometime Tuesday, according to news reports. Since then, 11 have died and five are missing. But as of today, the remaining 35 whales have begun to swim toward deep open water, where they need to live in order to survive, according to CNN. Wildlife officials are “cautiously optimistic” that the pod will complete the journey, but there are still plenty of miles to go. The US Coast Guard will continue to monitor the whales as the migration continues.
Wildlife officials were at a loss on how to migrate the pod from the coastline after multiple attempts to move them failed Wednesday. They didn’t believe the whales would survive. After using noise to try and coax the whale into deep water, rescuers decided to position boats across the shore to prevent the pod from swimming toward land, NOAA scientist Blair Mase told reporters. After that, the pod began to move toward open waters.
Watch Blood and Water, a new Whale Wars interactive episode that looks at whaling, whale conservation and offers never-before-seen footage. Make sure to watch the two-hour special Whale Wars: A Commander Rises, airing Friday, December 13 at 9PM EP!