Wildlife officials completed necropsies on six whales among
the group of 16 females and 9 males a day after they were
spotted by boaters near Kice Island, Florida, said Kim Amendola,
a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
The whales were part of a pod originally seen swimming in
shallow waters near the city of Naples on Sunday, prompting a
team of wildlife officials concerned about a spate of stranded
whales, to mark the animals to better identify them.
Earlier this week, eight other whales were found dead after they
swam into shallow waters near Fort Myers, Florida.
The group of 25 whales were found to be thin and showed no signs
of having interacted with humans, Amendola said.
Biologists have said the whales' close-knit social structure may
be playing a role in the deaths. Pilot whales are a social,
deep-water species. They live in pods of 20 to 90 whales and
typically will not leave ailing or dead members behind.
The bonds are so strong that dead whales have to be cleared from
beaches before others swimming in shallow waters can be guided
out to sea.
(Reporting by Kevin Gray and Zachary Fagenson;
editing by Toni
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