Over 80 false killer whales dead in Southwest Florida

A tragic scenario played out as dozens of false killer whales were recently found dead at a national park in south Florida.

One whale has been seen alive and another 13 or 14 are unaccounted for, officials said.

Mote veterinarians, alongside others from the NOAA and UF, humanely euthanized 10 of the stranded animals. They weigh about 1,500 pounds and are 15 to 20 feet long, according to NOAA Fisheries.

According to CNN, The whales are called false killer whales, because they're technically a species of dolphin.

The largest recorded stranding took place in Argentina in 1946, when 835 of the mammals beached themselves.




"In the coming months biologists will try to determine why this happened by using samples collected during necropsy (non-human autopsy)", the organization stated in a release.

False killer whales are dolphins that resemble killer whales but do not have the familiar white markings.

IUCN also cites a 2006 study that found that false killer whales, like beaked whales, are "likely to be vulnerable to loud anthropogenic sounds, such as those generated by navy sonar and seismic exploration".

In 1986, 28 false killer whales were stranded on Key West, and in 1989, 40 were stranded in Cedar Key.

The dolphins - in a group which included adults, juveniles, and calves - were "deeply embedded in some of the mangroves, making response efforts extremely hard", Mase told the Herald. The remote location made it challenging for biologists to get to the scene, and the National Park Service provided aerial flyovers to help scientists locate the animals and navigate the area by boat. They typically swim in the open ocean; strandings in the United States are unusual.

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