Stranded Pilot Whale in Rehab at SeaWorld

A pilot whale stranded near in May Cudjoe Key in the lower Florida Key has arrived at SeaWorld Orlando where she’ll receive TLC from SeaWorld staff and the volunteers at the Marine Mammal Conservancy.

Stranded pilot whale arrives at SeaWorld for physical therapy.

The 1,010-pound, 12-foot-long female was among 23 stranded in May. Unfortunately, most died at the scene although two males survived and were able to be released. Another female, Fredi, was too young to have learned survival skills so she too is being cared for at SeaWorld.

The sub-adult female, “300,” suffers from a curvature of the spine. While she has improved, animal experts at the National Marine Fisheries Service have determined that she is unlikely to recover. She will receive intensive physical therapy at SeaWorld, which was chosen because of its expertise with pilot whales and other stranded animals.

On Sept. 12, the whale was carefully guided onto a stretcher, then hoised into a large water-filled transport unit under the guidance of park animal experts and veterinarian Dr. Scott Gearhart for the 300-mile trip to SeaWorld from the Mammal Conservancy Center in the Keys.

“We’re cautiously optimistic for her rehabilitation, but we’re encouraged by her attitude, swimming and eating. She very attentive,” he said. “Unfortunately, the reality is that her muscular curvature is severe and we have to conduct multiple levels of assessment before we know her prognosis of returning to near-normal quality of life.

Both whales will be monitored round the clock with the goal of their integration with the other SeaWorld whales.

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