11 more pilot whales found dead, raising death toll to 22

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Eleven pilot whales beached themselves and died at Snipe Point, Fla.    NOAA/REUTERS

The story of the 51 pilot whales stranded in shallow water at the edge of Everglades National Park, Fla., does not have a happy ending. Eleven were found dead last week and another 11 were found beached in the lower Florida Keys Sunday. Authorities say it’s unlikely any more will be found alive.

(SOURCE)  The Florida whale rescue isn’t going down as everyone hoped — and the death toll keeps rising.

Eleven more pilot whales were found dead lying near one another on Snipe Point, roughly six miles north of Sugarloaf Key, on Sunday.

The once majestic mammals were likely from the pod of 51 whales that were stranded in shallow water at the edge of Everglades National Park last week, authorities said.

The U.S. Coast Guard said that, in addition to the whales found Sunday, ten whales died on Wednesday and another died Thursday.

That totals 22 confirmed dead with 29 missing. And those whales — last seen alive Friday — may have died and sunk below the waters.

The U.S. Coastguard confirmed that 22 pilot whales had died despite the large-scale rescue effort.

The U.S. Coastguard confirmed that 22 pilot whales had died despite the large-scale rescue effort.              Lynne Sladky/AP

“We had two aerial surveys Saturday. One in the morning and one at the afternoon,” NOAA spokeswoman Kim Amendola told the Daily News. “And we did not see any whales. So we still have 29 unaccounted for.”

Necropsies (autopsies for animals) of the 11 whales found Sunday revealed that they were starving and malnourished.

“We’re going to have to wait for tissue samples to be tested to show signs of disease or anything else that was affecting them,” Amendola said. “They look at toxicity levels and other things.”

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