Necropsies continue on beached whales

8 pilot whales died near Fort Myers Beach

Published On: Jan 23 2014 07:34:45 AM EST
FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. -

 Biologists are continuing to perform necropsies on eight pilot whales that died in shallow waters off southwest Florida.
    
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration biologist Erin Fougeres says a couple of the whales were emaciated, but the rest were in fairly good condition. She says that's not surprising because pilot whales have a tightknit social structure and if one ailing whale swims to shore, even healthy members of its pod will follow it.
    
It wasn't clear yet whether the whales had suffered from a disease or toxicity.
    
The dead whales include five males, two females and one whose sex hasn't been determined. They died earlier this week in the waters off Lover's Key State Park.
    
They were among dozens of whales that swam close to shore in Lee and Collier counties.

In December, more than 50 pilot whales stranded in Everglades National Park. Several died.