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Scientists asks public to help find missing whales off Florida coast

Scientists asks public to help find missing whales off Florida coast
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POSTED: Monday, December 9, 2013 - 8:17pm

UPDATED: Monday, December 9, 2013 - 11:44pm

(CNN) -- Twenty-nine pilot whales that were part of a pod that was stranded off the Florida coast are still missing, and scientists are asking the public for help in finding them.

The missing whales were among 51 stranded on the edge of Everglades National Park last week, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Twenty-two of those whales are confirmed dead, and scientists are performing necropsies to figure out why.

The only commonality so far is that all the dead adult whales are female, scientists said.

Eleven dead whales were spotted Sunday in the lower Florida Keys, and 11 others were found dead last week.

Some whales were spotted alive on Friday, when a pod of 20 was seen five nautical miles offshore, moving inshore and in a southward direction.

They were reportedly swimming slowly and in a disorganized fashion, which might suggest exhaustion, dehydration or malnutrition, according to NOAA.

Pilot whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, but they are not endangered.

Mass strandings by pilot whales are not uncommon in Florida.

In 2012, nearly two dozen pilot whales stranded and beached themselves. In 2011, 23 pilot whales stranded and beached themselves.

Anyone who spots the whales in the waters off southern Florida are asked to call 877-WHALE-HELP.

The-CNN-Wire
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