3 stranded pilot whales die this week

3 stranded pilot whales die this week

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - The South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources is looking for any more stranded pilot whales on Friday.

"We have had a lot of interest in the whale, a lot of people calling, a lot of people coming to ask," said Amanda Wood, Hunting Island State Park.

A flight is scheduled for Friday to see if there are any more stranded whales along the coast.

"It is very common for this particular species to mass strand and we do see it quite frequently on the east coast of the United States. Here in South Carolina, it has been a very long time since there was a mass strand of pilot whales. Looking at the data, it was 1974," said Blare Mase, NOAA Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Network coordinator.

So far, three pilot whales that have died including the one in the Fripp Inlet on Thursday, the one found on Edisto on Tuesday and a third one discovered dead Thursday in the Story River, which is about a half mile from the one in the Fripp Inlet, according to the DNR.

"A lot of times along the east coast, there are beaches where these whales can just come and strand on the beach. We do have situations where they end up in the inner coastal and they start to strand and scatter and it does make response more difficult because the logistics are so difficult. We are hearing reports and can't confirm them because the area, the marsh," said Mase.

The whales have been set to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab in Charleston for an animal autopsy to determine what causes this mass stranding to occur.

"It is kind of automatic to want to push the animals back into the water if there is a beached whale but it is very important they do not do that because these animals are here for a reason and we need to make sure they get the care they need," said Mase.

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