Almost 100 false killer whales stranded off Southwest Florida

Dozens of false killer whales. a type of dolphin, are dead following a stranding in Everglades National Park in South Florida, officials said Monday.

Almost 100 false killer whales that were stranded off of Everglades National Park have either died or have been euthanized over the weekend in the largest mass stranding of this species. By Sunday evening, 72 whales had died on their own, 9 were euthanized and 13 were still unaccounted for. Females can reach about 15 feet in length while males grow up to 20 feet.

Park officials uploaded aerial photos showing the dark outlines of the false killer whales.

According to NOAA information, false killer whales usually swim in large groups. In the coming months, biologists will conduct necropsies to determine what exactly happened, NOAA said.

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They are much smaller and less aggressive than their distant relative, the Orca, or killer whale.

Almost one hundred rare false killer whales were stranded off a remote coast of Southwest Florida. Blair Mase, a stranding coordinator with NOAA, told the Miami Herald that the dolphins were "deeply embedded in some of the mangroves making response efforts extremely hard".

The animals live in groups of 40-100 individuals and are known to strand in large numbers. The beach did not have cell service, said Blair Mase, a NOAA coordinator.

The dolphins - in a group which included adults, juveniles, and calves - were "deeply embedded in some of the mangroves, making response efforts extremely hard", Mase told the Herald. The cause for the stranding and subsequent deaths is still unknown. They look similar to Killer Whales with dark coloration and some lighter patches around the chest.

  • Douglas Reid