A pilot whale calf that stranded May 5 off the lower Florida Keys has recovered and is being transported from a Keys-based marine mammal rehabilitation facility to Orlando.
The 600-pound, 9-foot-long female was placed in a water-filled transport unit Friday night and loaded into a refrigerated truck for the almost 300-mile trip from the Marine Mammal Conservancy to SeaWorld. It is expected to arrive Saturday morning.
Marine mammal experts and a veterinarian are accompanying the whale during the trip.
Federal officials say the calf cannot be released because it is too young to survive in the wild without its mother and requires managed care.
One pilot whale remains at the conservancy. Officials say it is still in critical condition but showing signs of improvement.