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Pilot Whales Strand Themselves Off Naples

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The Florida Marina Patrol is keeping tabs on about 30 or so short finned pilot whales, several of which have beached themselves, at the Gordon Pass in Naples.

Officials said the high tides Sunday helped push the pod of whales into deeper water .

The whales were spotted around noon, Naple's harbor master Roger Jacobsen told the Naples Daily News. Jacobsen added that three or four of the whales have beached themselves. The area where the whales beach is difficult to reach except by boat.

Along with the marine patrol, members of Sea Tow Naples are on the scene, helping keep boaters out of the area.

Last December, eleven of the pilot whale found dead in the Florida Keys were found to be emaciated and suffering from malnutrition. A fisherman found the whales lying near each other on Snipe Point, on an island chain near Key West.

Early in the month, wildlife employees and marine patrol officers had to herd a pod of about 50 whales back out into the Gulf after they tried to strand themselves off the Highland Beach area of Everglades National Park. The free-swimming whales were in 2-4 feet of water and about 20 miles away from their natural deep-sea habitat.

Eleven of the whales died, several others are unaccounted for.

The short-finned pilot whale is one of the most common species involved in mass strandings.

The Naples Daily News contributed to this report

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