5 pilot whales released after stranding on Redington Beach making progress toward reunion

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Five whales that stranded themselves on Redington Beach last week and were eventually released back in the Gulf in two separate groups are making progress toward reuniting, rescue officials say.

The five pilot whales beached themselves last Monday. Later that day, three of the five whales were released back into the Gulf of Mexico. Clearwater Marine Aquarium officials placed satellite trackers on those three whales so they could be monitored.

The other two were taken to a facility in Tarpon Springs for further care by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. After a few days of care, those two whales were also equipped with trackers and released into the Gulf on Thursday.

David Yates, the chief executive officer at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, released satellite tracking data from all five whales on Monday, one week after the initial stranding.

“The three released on the rescue date are together near the shelf edge continuing to the NW,” Yates said in an email. “This is where they will find deeper water.”

The two whales that were released Thursday have also stuck together. Yates says the pair is headed quickly in the direction of the other group and “apparently getting a lift from the prevailing surface current.” The two whales are currently heading southwest and checked in a little over 40 miles off the coast of Venice Monday morning.

“We are very happy with the continuing progress of all five amazing whales,” Yates said.

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