81 whales die after becoming stranded in Florida Everglades

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18 January, 2017

Rescue crews are also searching for the dozen or more additional dolphins also believed to have become stranded, according to Blair Mase of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Fisheries Service.

False killer whales are a type of dolphin and closely resemble killer whales, but only grow to about 17 feet.

False killer whales belong to the dolphin family and get their name due to their resemblance to orcas.

"In the coming months biologists will try to determine why this happened by using samples collected during necropsy (non-human autopsy), but it can take months for results to come back and even then, a cause of stranding is not guaranteed", the organization added.

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As of Monday, they discovered a total of 95 false killer whales.

Hog Key is one of the keys in Florida Bay southwest of Everglades City. Adult false killer whales weigh up to 1,500 pounds. At the time, Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported it was not known why the animals stranded themselves, but biologists were considering whether the pod leader might have been incapacitated. Seventy-two were found dead and 10 were euthanized by veterinarians on the scene after being found in poor condition.

"Once on the scene, the response team attempted to herd some of the free-swimming live whales into deeper water, however, they were ultimately unsuccessful with that effort", Mase said. They were thought to be extinct until a stranded whale was found in the late 19th century. According to NOAA's website, mammals strand themselves due to disease, starvation, harmful algal blooms, pollution, and unusual weather, among others reasons.


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