2014 Florida Volunteer Updates

As the North Atlantic right whales migrate to the South Georgia/Northern Florida coast each winter volunteers help watch for and capture critical details related to this endangered species. This information helps scientists track the fate of the species and acts as a first alert system to pilots in the shipping lanes to avoid accidental killings. This blog shares the findings, photos and other pertinent information gathered from the Palm Coast Sector Volunteer Team while helping to connect and communicate the many ways we can protect the right whales and sustain our wonderful ocean life.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pilot Whales Beached on Marineland, FL Shores

While survival in the wilds of the ocean is at best difficult these days, bearing witness to the demise of two Pilot Whales that beached near Marineland yesterday begged the question why.  And it seemed a bit fortuitous that the whales happened to beach here on the front steps of the Georgia Aquarium Dolphin Conservation Field Station (DCFS for short) as these are the very people researching what causes whales and dolphins to beach and the ones called upon to help when whales or dolphins beach on the shores of Flagler County.  

Watching these people in action yesterday I immediately knew this is what they live for (even though in most cases the stranded mammals rarely make it) and proved over the next four hours to be a compassionate and organized team of professionals.
The first DCFS staffers to arrive jumped into the water and helped the whales stay upright.  The rest of the team was already in full alert mode with trucks rigged for such disasters on their way as was the local marineland veterinarian. In those short ten to fifteen minutes of waiting the wind kicked up a notch making the "feels like" temperature somewhere in the 40's - not so great for those in the water not dressed for the occasion. 

Once assembled the team worked like a well oiled swat team and concurrently took care of the whales as well as members of the team. Wind jackets were handed out, wet suits were donned and dry towels shared while health stats like breaths and heart beats per minute were being shouted to the shore team taking copious notes. 
George Biedenbach, Director, Conservation Programs at DCFS instructs the team 
on how to prepare the whale for taking blood samples.

Then the team collectively gathered to prepare the whale for the vet to get blood samples. Typically it is disease that makes the whales beach and the results of the blood tests, usually known the next day, will help determine what caused these whales to become ill. Again, one of the main programs the DCFS is researching.
Eric Searcy, Veterinarian for the DCFS takes blood samples while the team coordinates 
and communicates the state of the whale's vital signs.

Other volunteers were involved including a local sheriff and a few from the Marineland right whale watch volunteer program and Marineland. While it wasn't a happy ending for the whales hopefully whatever is learned from this beaching by the DCFS team will help other mammals. 

As if the beaching location wasn't enough of a coincidence I learned today that the last time pilot whales beached in Flagler County they did so almost in the exact same spot and almost on the very same day some thirteen years ago..today ( January 14, 1998). Coincidence? Or do they somehow know this is where they will be best cared for. Watch on! cs

LINK TO VIDEOS OF THE BEACHED WHALES (or paste this address into your browser: http://www.youtube.com/user/yellowfishcafe



1 comment:

  1. Read about how Marineland has rescued many stranded whales and dolphins at the article "Marineland Rescued Rare Dolphins". GOOGLE it!