CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Scientists have linked four pilot whales found dead on the coast of South Carolina with 17 whales of the same species that were found days earlier in Georgia.
Four more dead whales were found Saturday on and near Edisto Beach, South Carolina – about 80 miles (128 kilometers) from the stranding site in Georgia.
One of the whales died pretty quickly; the 3 others were euthanized to prevent suffering.
The Lowcountry Mammal Network says it is very concerning that they were so close to shore because that species of whale lives in deep water.
Executive Director for the Lowcountry Mammal Network Lauren Rust says, “Marine mammals strand for a reason, usually a sickness or [are] weak and get brought in by a tide.”
The team is conducting an autopsy on the 4 whales found in SC. Results will take weeks to come back. So far there are no obvious signs that lead to the stranding.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says that photographs of dorsal fins confirmed the 21 dead whales belonged to the same pod.
16 of the pilot whales were found around St. Catherine’s Island in Georgia. An additional pilot whale carcass was later found on Cumberland Island.
The American Cetacean Society says pilot whales are often involved in mass strandings partly due to their social nature. No word yet on any autopsy results of the whales.