Officials find 11 dead whales in Fla. Keys

by The Associated Press
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FILE - In a Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 file photo, dozens of pilot whales are stranded in shallow water in a remote area of Florida's Everglades National Park. Wildlife officials are ceasing efforts to rescue a pod of whales that was stranded in the Everglades after losing sight of the marine mammals. The National Park Service says aerial and boat survey teams could not locate the whales Saturday, Dec. 7, a potentially encouraging sign that they have moved farther offshore. While authorities are hopeful the whales are headed back to the deeper, colder waters that form their natural habitat, they cannot say for sure. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

FILE – In a Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 file photo, dozens of pilot whales are stranded in shallow water in a remote area of Florida’s Everglades National Park. Wildlife officials are ceasing efforts to rescue a pod of whales that was stranded in the Everglades after losing sight of the marine mammals. The National Park Service says aerial and boat survey teams could not locate the whales Saturday, Dec. 7, a potentially encouraging sign that they have moved farther offshore. While authorities are hopeful the whales are headed back to the deeper, colder waters that form their natural habitat, they cannot say for sure. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. (AP) — National wildlife officials say 11 whales believed to be part of a pod that was stranded in the Everglades are dead.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration official Blair Mase says wildlife workers spotted the dead whales Sunday afternoon on Snipe Point, about six miles north of Sugarloaf Key.

That brings the overall death toll to 22.

The pod of 51 short-finned pilot whales was first spotted by a fishing guide Tuesday in the shallow waters off a remote section of the Everglades. The species is one of the most commonly involved in mass strandings.

Mase says that veterinary teams will try to determine whether any disease was a factor in the deaths.

Officials do not know the status of the remaining whales. The marine mammals were last seen alive Friday.

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