“There has been a lot going on in the stranding world this month! On September 1st, a group of 22 short-finned pilot whales mass stranded at Avalon Beach State Park in St. Lucie County, FL. This triggered a daylong effort that involved help from several organizations and hundreds of beach goers. Eventually, five of the whales (juveniles and calves) were transported to Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Institute for rehabilitation. Though one of the whales unfortunately did not make it, the remaining four were transported to SeaWorld Orlando, where they remain in stable condition and are continuing to receive around the clock care. One of the female calves was still nursing at the time of stranding and consequently is too young to be a candidate for release. It is still too soon to tell if the other animals are candidates for release. Make sure to keep checking this story, to watch the progress of their rehabilitation!
The CMA Stranding Interns and some CMA staff assisted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at the Marine Mammal Pathobiology Lab in St. Petersburg with several necropsies on some of the pilot whales that did not survive the stranding. Hopefully, the results from these necropsies will give us some more information about this stranding event!
In other very exciting news, our stranding boat is getting a name! Stranding Team members were each asked to submit a potential name for our boat that would help promote our mission of rescue, rehabilitation, and release! Voting is now in progress to select the top five names, after which an executive committee will decide on a final name! Stay tuned for the announcement!
Our workshop series has been continuing as well! The most recent workshop, Marine Mammals and Human Interactions, detailed the various ways in which we can impact marine mammals and their environments. We looked at topics like fisheries interactions, recognizing different types of injuries that can result from human interaction, how human interactions can relate to stranding events, and how we can be proactive in protecting our environment! Some attendees even got the opportunity to participate in a beach clean up on the Courtney Campbell Causeway as a part of the Keep Pinellas Beautiful coastal cleanup! Activities like this are extremely important to our desire to be proactive, and we were proud to be a part of it! We hope to continue with activities like this in the future to keep promoting our mission.
Last but not least, we would like to welcome our Fall Stranding Interns! We look forward to another month of carrying out our mission with this dedicated group of individuals!”