SeaWorld Orlando’s animal rescue team transported four pilot whales from Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute to SeaWorld this morning (September 5, 2012). The juvenile short-finned pilot whales, one male and three females, were part of the mass stranding earlier this week at Avalon State Park in Ft. Pierce. Experts from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute cared for the animals temporarily alongside members of the SeaWorld Orlando’s animal care team, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Marine Mammal Conservancy, University of Florida, Ocean Embassy as well as trained volunteers worked tirelessly to help the whales stabilize for their trip this morning to SeaWorld Orlando. Once there, the whales were quarantined for additional observation and treatment.
Veterinarians and rescue staff will care for the whales 24 hours a day, including tube-feeding those who are young and unable to eat fish yet.
It is still undetermined why the pod stranded on September 1. Necropsies may shed light on the reason, but it is possible the cause could remain a mystery.