A spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday that around 46 whales were trapped in shallow water off the coast of the Everglades National Park in Florida. Six whales have already died while fighting to survive.
Staff members of the national park were embarking on a rescue effort, but the high level of the whales’ distress and rising temperatures were making the difficult situation even tougher. Everglades National Park spokeswoman, Linda Friar, said that the staff and officials from NOAA were working to move the whales to deeper water, a mission that could take longer than one day.
Stranded whales are becoming a common occurrence in this particular part of Florida, as nine whales became stuck on Tuesday when they beached themselves, and another large group was trapped in a small area of shallow water on Wednesday.
“Why they beach themselves, we don’t know,” Friar said. However, the director of whale research at the National Marine Laboratory in Seattle, Washington, Phillip Clapham, explained that it may be the result of a follow-the-leader situation. “These are very, very social animals,” Clapham said. “They remain together as family units. If the lead animal gets in trouble, probably everyone else is going to follow them and be in trouble.”