Rescuers Race to Save Dozens of Whales Stranded Off Florida Coast

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 4 2013 6:16 PM

Rescuers Race to Save Dozens of Whales Stranded Off Florida Coast


Screenshot courtesy of NBC 6 South Florida

Wildlife workers are working to save dozens of pilot whales trapped in perilously shallow water in Florida’s Everglades National Park. Six of the beached whales have died already and four more had to be euthanized on Wednesday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The whales, which can grow as large as 16-to-20 feet and normally live in deep water, are stranded in water that is only 3 feet deep. Officials are keeping expectations low as they attempt to rescue the some 41 whales that remain stranded in the area.

Here’s more on the rescue effort from the Associated Press:

Park spokeswoman Linda Friar said rescuers were trying to surround the whales with boats about 75 feet from shore and nudge them out of the roughly 3-foot-deep salt water back to sea… Workers tried to nudge the whales out to sea a day earlier with no success. The whales are stranded in a remote area that takes more than an hour to reach by boat from the nearest boat ramp… Furthermore, the area is so shallow that it's difficult to get the mammals enough water to propel them back to sea. A team of biologists was still assessing the whales Wednesday.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.