PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Clearwater Marine Aquarium released the remaining two whales that were rescued earlier this week after 24-hour watch and care over the last three days.
- Two remaining whales being released at Anclote River Park
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Five pilot whales were beached for nine hours Monday on Redington Beach. It took dozen of volunteers to help rescue the whales.
Three of the whales were guided back out to deeper water and two of them were taken to a rehabilitation facility in Tarpon Springs.
"They are doing fine but there's a long way to go," David Yates with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium said of the two rehabilitated whales.
Today, the whales were transported by van from Fred Howard Park to Anclote River Park where they were loaded onto a boat by a crane. The larger one is 12 feet and 1603 pounds. The smaller one is 10 feet and just under 1,000 pounds.
Their goal was to get them back to their habitats as soon as possible, however, the release can be pretty risky. Crews transported the male whales 20 miles put into the Gulf.
The other three whales were tagged and released on Monday and are doing very well, marine officials said.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium decided late Wednesday night to release the two remaining whales after further observing the path of the three other whales who continue to head in a positive direction, away from the coast.
Marine biologists with Clearwater Marine Aquarium, along with Florida Fish and Wildlife officials, aided the five distressed whales Monday morning.
The whales ranged from 800 to 1,800 pounds and were 10 to 14 feet long.
The first of the whales, about 1,000 pounds in size, was lifted by dozens of people and taken for transport at about 2:40 p.m. By 4 p.m., all five of the whales had been rescued.
Marine Biologists say pilot whales are known to mass strand.
"Pilot whales are known to live in very tight social cohesive units," said Marine Biologist Laura Engleby. "It’s sort of all for one - one for all and so when one goes they all go and so in this case often we don’t know why they strand.
"However we do know they're out of where they normally live."