Beached Whales

On September 1, 2012 shortly after dawn a pod of 22 short finned pilot whales beached themselves at the Avalon Beach State Park on the northern section of North Hutchinson Island.  All told there were 17 adults, some as large as 18 feet in length and weighing a ton, and 5 juveniles about 5 feet in length.  A pod is a tight linked society, so if there is one sick or injured that beaches itself, the rest follow.  Experts say that efforts to move healthy ones back to sea are useless because they just return, beaching themselves again.  Over a hundred people gathered at the scene and experts tagged some and were preparing for necropsies to see if they could learn more from the incident.  By late afternoon 2 adults had died and the 5 juveniles were moved to the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute of the Florida Atlantic Institute located west of the beaching on the mainland along the Indian River Lagoon.  The rest of the beached adults were humanely ethicized and carcasses removed from the beach.  The juveniles will be nursed at the Institute and if they survive will probably be transitioned back to the ocean.  As March 2013, 3 of the youngsters had survived and were thriving but since they were so juvenile and not able to learn to live in the wild with their pod, will be retained at Sea World, Orlando.
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