16 pilot whales stranded off the Florida Keys

AP News
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Posted: May 06, 2011 9:06 AM

Marine mammal rescuers are tending to six of about 16 pilot whales that are stranded in shallow waters off the lower Florida Keys.

Art Cooper of the Marine Mammal Conservancy says the whales are in stable but guarded condition Friday after responders were able to construct a temporary sea pen and relocate them. Veterinarians are providing medical evaluations.

The whales were found stranded Thursday afternoon in three separate areas in shallow Gulf of Mexico waters near Cudjoe Key. Two animals died and rescuers have begun searching for others outside the pen that were spotted before darkness fell.

Officials hope to eventually relocate any surviving whales to the Marine Mammal Conservancy's rehabilitation facility in Key Largo.