More Dead Whales Found in Florida
A virus that killed hundreds of dolphins along the United States’ East Coast last year might be killing dozens of pilot whales in Florida as well.
Scientists don’t know just yet.
But according to Fort Myers, Florida, TV station WBBH, they’re testing dozens of dead whales for the morbillivirus, to see if that’s what’s making the whales beach themselves.
Twenty-five more pilot whales died Thursday at Kice Island, Florida – approximately 15 miles south of the city of Naples, in the southwestern part of the state.
Their deaths came just three days after the deaths of eight other pilot whales near Lover’s Key State Park, approximately 40 miles away.
And just last month, 22 other pilot whales died after swimming into Everglades National Park.
Something is making the whales swim from their deep-water homes in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean into the shallow waters along the Florida coast.
The question remains unanswered.
But the experts are trying hard to find out.
“It’s unusual,” said Blair Mase, a stranding expert with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in a report by the Los Angeles Times.
On Friday, they reportedly examined the latest batch of dead whales, checking for the morbillivirus and other possible culprits.
Previous examinations on the other dead pilot whales found that they had not been eating.
That might be because they were sick.
Or it could simply be that they had spent too much time in areas where the food they normally eat cannot be found.
There have also been reports that US Navy SONAR testing might be to blame for the whales’ deaths.
SONAR stands for “sound navigation and ranging.”
It’s a method of using sound waves to find things underwater.
And the Navy uses it to check for enemy submarines or other potential dangers.
According to some experts, whales can become confused or disoriented by SONAR.
(“Disoriented” means you don’t know where you are or where you’re going.)
But according to the Naples Daily News, the Navy says it was not doing any SONAR testing in the area where the dead whales have been found.
Pilot whales are known for their loyalty to one another.
According to the experts, when one of the whales gets lost or sick, its fellow whales stick with it – for better or for worse.
In the past couple of months, it’s been for worse.