MIAMI (AP) — Officials say dozens of false killer whales have died after stranding themselves in the Gulf of Mexico west of the Florida Everglades.
Blair Mase of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries service told reporters that the Coast Guard had confirmed sightings Saturday of the black dolphins in the shallows on the western edge of Everglades National Park.
Mase says efforts to herd the marine mammals into deeper waters failed. By Monday afternoon, 81 of the animals had died or been euthanized. Mase said over a dozen more were believed to have also stranded but had not been found.
It's unclear what caused the stranding. Mase said rescue teams faced many challenges in the remote site off Hog Key, including sharks in the water and thick mangroves that ensnared the dying animals.