COLLIER COUNTY, FL (WBBH/CNN) – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says a total of 20 Pilot whales have been found dead on an island off southwestern Florida, possible driven ashore by high seas.
A boater reported the whales early Thursday afternoon near Kice Island, south of Naples, FL.
NOAA says their bodies were found above the normal tide line, suggesting that season whipped by strong westerly winds may have led to their running aground.
It's the second time this week that pods of Pilot whales, which can reach sizes up to 25 feet, have found themselves in danger off the state's southwest coast.
NOAA reports that of the 14 whales that were found near Fort Myers on Monday, eight died, including one pregnant female.
Necropsies on those animals have produced on significant findings that would point to a cause of death.
According to NOAA, about 2,400 Pilot whales are believed to live in the Gulf of Mexico.
The species is not endangered, but they are covered by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
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