TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — A day after five pilot whales beached themselves on Redington Beach, their rescuers say there are positive signs all of them will be just fine.
Two of the whales were taken to a Clearwater Marine Aquarium facility in Tarpon Springs for further care. Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer Bill Potts said it's looking "so far so good" for the two pilot whales, and signs are positive that the aquarium will be able to release them very soon.
Potts said at the facility -- which is not open to the public and caters to rehabilitating marine animals -- staff is doing 24/7 basic care and observation of the whales. NOAA and CMA veterinarians do medical evaluations in the water to make sure the ways stay healthy.
Potts said the goal is to get these whales back home as quickly as possible. The sooner the whales are back with the other three whales, the happier they will be.
The other three whales rescued Monday afternoon were taken back into deeper waters by boat. Potts said they've already received the pings from the GPS tracking devices they put on the whales.
The three whales are "doing just what we expected and just what we wanted," Potts said.
"We're really thankful for all the people that were able to help us get those animals back out into the wild and we're also thankful that they appear to be doing pretty well out there," Potts said.
Potts said they hope to use the three whales' GPS trackers to help reunite the pod once the other two whales are ready for release.
Why did the whales beach themselves in the first place? Potts said it's "one of nature's great mysteries." Rescuers say there are many possibilities, but none that they have been able to confirm or identify.
Potts said it's not common to see pilot whales this close to shore. They are deep water whales and usually inhabit waters that are 30-40 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico.
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