CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Two pygmy whales were stranded Wednesday morning on Sand Key Beach in Clearwater.
- Pygmy killer whales stranded on Sand Key Beach
- Crews worked to assess whales' vitals
- Whales removed from waters
Volunteers from Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Clearwater Fire and Resuce responded to the scene where they attended to the whales.
Initially, crews thought they were melon-headed whales or false killer whales.
CMA volunteers and fire & rescue were out in the water trying to keep the whales calm while their vitals were being assessed.
"We're going to take their heart rate, we're going to take their respiration rate, we're going to get some measurements on them," Kerry Sanchez with CMA said.
CMA officials said the whales were not necessarily stuck, but they were 15 feet from shore in very shallow waters.
Many people out at the beach were asking if red tide caused the whales to become stranded and while they can't rule it out, CMA volunteers say it's highly unlikely. That is because red tide affects the coast and these whales usually swim much further out in deeper waters.
"Animals strand usually because they are sick or injured. So the worst thing we can do is push them back in the water," Sanchez said.
The two whales were removed from the water and transported to MOTE in Sarasota for treatment.
Officials have not released the condition of the whales.
CMA volunteers also noted that another whale was seen further out in deeper waters, as whales usually travel in pods.
This is a developing story, please check back for updates.