SNIPE POINT, Fla. (AP) – Necropsies performed on the 11 pilot whales found dead in the Florida Keys show that they were emaciated and suffering from malnutrition, federal officials said Monday.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stranding coordinator Blair Mase said the whales’ empty bellies could be a result of disease or of being out of the deep, cooler waters that form their natural habitat.
“Really we don’t know how long they’ve been in the area and we don’t have any clues of why they got here in the first place,” she said in a conference call with the media. It could be weeks to months before the results of the necropsies come in, she said, and “there is a possibility there could be more whales in the area.”
A fisherman found the 11 whales lying near each other Sunday in Snipe Point, on an island chain near Key West. The young ones, especially, were emaciated, said Julia Zaias, a veterinarian with the Marine Animal Rescue Society.
Zaias spoke with The Associated Press from a center in Key West where researchers handled samples on Monday. Two of the female whales were pregnant.
The samples would help researchers discover any illnesses or anything else that could help them understand why the whales had beached.
“We’ll be testing for viruses,” Zaias said. “We’re looking to see if they have any there, and then we’ll be looking for all other possible reasons.”
The whales are believed to be part of a pod of 51 whales originally found stranded on a remote Everglades beach last Tuesday. Six other whales were found dead Wednesday, and four more had to be euthanized. Another whale was found dead Thursday.
Twenty-nine whales remain unaccounted for.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- 12 things to watch before the Oscars
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Best and worst of Super Bowl commercials
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Operation Santa Claus needs holiday help
- This college bowl season is likely to be epic
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night