What Caused The Death Of 82 Dolphins In The Everglades?

82 Dolphins Dead In Mass Stranding

The question of what caused 82 dolphins to die in Florida’s largest mass stranding since 1989, per a U.S. scientific agency, remains. Over the weekend dozens of dolphins died in the Everglades National Park and on Tuesday biologists investigated those deaths.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), at least 82 of the dolphins, also known as false killer whales due to their resemblance to killer whales, died. 71 were found dead and 10 were euthanized by veterinarians on the scene because of the poor condition they were found in.

NOAA spokeswoman Blair Mase told The Weather Network that 13 dolphins remain unaccounted for since the initial sighting by a bystander on Saturday afternoon in Hog Key. Hog Key is a remote island on the western side of the park.

Mase, the coordinator of NOAA’s Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Network, also said the dolphins were scattered along the hard-to-reach shoreline. Furthermore, they were tangled in some of the mangroves, which made it hard to retrieve them.

“Once on the scene, the response team attempted to herd some of the free-swimming live whales into deeper water, however, they were ultimately unsuccessful with that effort,” Mase said to The Weather Network.

Biologists and responders from a number of agencies such as the NOAA, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the National Park Service will work together on this mysterious case. They will try to locate the unaccounted dolphins in the Everglades National Park and then determine the cause of death from samples collected during post-mortem examinations.

According to the NOAA’s website, false killer whales are the fourth-largest dolphin and range in size from 15 to 20 feet. Their average weight is 1,500 pounds and they have a 60-year lifespan.