Mass Pilot Whale Stranding in the Florida Keys

Mass Pilot Whale Stranding in the Florida Keys

Staff members and volunteers from the Marine Mammal Conservancy care for four pilot whales Friday, May 6, 2011, in a temporary sea pen at Cudjoe Key, Fla. The four whales are part of a group of about 18 that stranded Thursday, May 5, off the lower Florida Keys. Three other whales are being cared for in the pen, two died and responders are endeavoring to secure the others in the sea pen. Photo Courtesy: Bob Care/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO

CUDJOE KEY, Florida Keys — Marine mammal rescuers responded to a mass stranding of pilot whales late Thursday afternoon off the lower Florida Keys.

Art Cooper, chairman of the Marine Mammal Conservancy, said that officials from the U.S. Coast Guard, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and MMC have located at least 15 pilot whales in three separate areas in shallow Gulf of Mexico waters near Cudjoe Key. One is believed to be a calf.

Cooper said responders were to try to gather the whales and move them to one location for the safey of the animals and rescuers.

It is not known why the whales stranded, Cooper said, adding that there are no visible injuries to the marine mammals.

Cooper said he has requested additional personnel support and resources from other marine mammal organizations.

Stacey Anderson, right, of the Marine Mammal Conservancy, right, and an unidentified MMC volunteer, left, care for a pilot whale Friday, May 6, 2011, at Cudjoe Key, Fla. The whale is one of about 18 that stranded Thursday, May 5, off the lower Florida Keys. Six other whales are being cared for in the temporary sea pen, two died and responders are endeavoring to secure the others in the sea pen. Photo Courtesy: Bob Care/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO

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