Stranded whales in peril
19th April 2003
Sky News – Link to Video file
Rescue groups may be fighting a losing battle
to save more than 30 pilot whales that beached
themselves off the Florida Keys.
It is proving difficult to move them back out to sea because the water is so shallow.
The whales include adult males, females and calves. Seven of the creatures have already died and another seven are being cared for in a holding facility.
They are being tended by about 50 rescuers from the Coast Guard and other groups.
The reasons for the beaching are not known, says Dr Janet Whaley of the National Marine Fisheries Service.
"Perhaps they were chasing prey, or the leader took a wrong turn. They are very cohesive."
Mass strandings or beachings by pilot whales are not unusual and have been recorded for centuries.
Rescue workers have draped the creatures in towels and sheets to prevent sunburn. They are being fed purified water and an anti-dehydration mixture for children.
Dr Whaley said workers are assessing the condition of the whales in an attempt to determine which can be returned to open waters and which may have to be put down.