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10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ten pilot whales have died and another 41 remain stranded in a remote area of Everglades National Park in Florida, as officials scurry to keep the mammals alive until high tide reaches.

A team that arrived on the scene Wednesday morning found six whales dead, and they were forced to euthanize four, NOAA Fisheries Southeast marine mammal stranding coordinator Blair Mase said, NBC Miami reported.

They were stranded in "miles and miles" of shallow water, said Blair Mase, a marine mammal scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, CNN reported.

The team hopes to keep the whales alive during low tide, and then try to push them back out to sea when high tide comes, said Linda Friar, Everglades National Park spokeswoman, NBC reported.

Ms. Mase said, however, that people need to be realistic about the outcome for the whales.

"Euthanasia might be the most humane option. The animals could be compromised," Ms. Mase said, in NBC Miami. "If we did push the healthy ones out, if they see one dead one they will come back again."

"These are very, very social animals," said Phillip Clapham, director of the whale research program at the National Marine Laboratory in Seattle, in the CNN report.

"They remain together as family units. If the lead animal gets in trouble, probably everyone else is going to follow them and be in trouble," he said, CNN reported.

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