Three stranded Pygmy whales die

Latest updates on two stranded pygmy killer whales (“Lightning” and “Thunder”) and one stranded melon-headed whale (“Bolt”) brought to Mote Marine Laboratory during the past week:

• As of 2 p.m. Sept. 7: Mote reports that, after a rapid decline overnight, caregivers made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize Bolt, the male melon-headed whale that originally stranded Sept. 4 on Longboat Key.

• As of 1:30 p.m. Sept 6: Mote reports that Thunder passed in the morning of Sept. 6. Thunder was very socially bonded with the other pygmy killer whale, Lightning, and we are unsure what impact Lightning’s recent passing had on Thunder: Lightning passed about 26 hour previous to Thunder.

• As of 9 a.m. Sept. 5: Lightning, the sickest of the three pygmy killer whales, was the first to pass away. She repeatedly struggled to swim on her own, showed no interest in food, and was being treated for pneumonia, parasites known as nasotrema, and gastric issues. Her specific cause of death is not known.

Mote said it is saddened by the outcome for these three stranded whales but is dedicated to learning as much as possible from each animal, for the benefit of their species. All animals arrived at Mote in extremely critical condition, requiring 24-7 care and monitoring from staff and trained volunteers. All animals will be necropsied (a necropsy is an animal autopsy) to hopefully gain insight into the reason for their passing. With marine mammal strandings, particularly with these less-understood, offshore whale species, scientists are not always able to determine why they stranded.

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Longboat Key News

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