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Over 80 False Killer Whales Die At Everglades National Park

False killer whales are a member of the dolphin family. They typically swim in the open ocean.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on Saturday, Jan. 14, almost 100 false killer whales were spotted on the western side of Everglades Nat'l Park, north of the Highland Beach area.

Of the 95 whales spotted, 82 have died: Most died on their own, while about 10 beached animals were euthanized by scientists after being found in "extremely poor" condition. Crews continue to search for a dozen or so from a pod thought to have originally numbered about 100.

"They are known to strand in large groups, as well", NOAA's species profile mentioned.

Efforts to herd the animals into deeper water were unsuccessful, as the mammals had become deeply embedded in the mangroves, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Crews tried again Sunday but were hampered by the shallow, muddy flats and a shoreline tangled with tree roots. Females reach lengths of 15 feet and males are nearly 20 feet. The cause for the stranding and subsequent deaths is still unknown.

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A necropsy will be conducted to help determine the cause of the stranding.

"Sadly, 81 have already been confirmed dead", the park said on Facebook Monday.

No boats or flyovers are allowed near the scene as the National Park Service has closed off the area for safety reasons.

Nearly 100 false killer whales that had become beached off a South Florida coastline have died or needed to be euthanised.

Saturday's mass stranding is the largest ever in the United States involving false killer whales, according to NOAA. Like Orcas, scientists classify them as dolphins rather than whales.

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