Archive for the ‘The Everglades’ Category

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Wildlife workers in boats struggled Wednesday to coax nearly four dozen pilot whales out of dangerous shallow waters in Florida’s Everglades National Park, hoping to spare them the fate of 10 others that already have died.

Four of the whales had to be euthanized Wednesday, and six others already had died, said Blair Mase, the marine mammal stranding network coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. At least three could be seen on the beach, out of the water.

Park spokeswoman Linda Friar said rescuers were trying to surround the whales with boats about 75 feet from shore and nudge them out of the roughly 3-foot-deep salt water back to sea.

“They are trying to herd the animals out to sea,” Friar said. “They are not cooperating.”

Workers tried to nudge the whales out to sea a day earlier with no success. The whales are stranded in a remote area that takes more than an hour to reach by boat from the nearest boat ramp.

“This scenario is very challenging because of where they are,” Mase said. Officials typically have access to heavy equipment to rescue stranded whales, but that isn’t an option where the whales are now.

Furthermore, the area is so shallow that it’s difficult to get the mammals enough water to propel them back to sea. A team of biologists was still assessing the whales Wednesday.

Officials don’t know how long the whales been stranded or how they got there. The whales usually swim together in large groups and tend to follow a dominant male leader, so it’s not uncommon for multiple whales to get stranded at once.

At least one other group of whales has stranded in the park in the past 10 years.

“It’s not uncommon,” Friar said. “But it’s not something that happens a lot.”

Mase said the whales are known to inhabit deep water, “so they are very out of their home range.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/04/whales-trapped-everglades-florida-park

Thanks to Dr. D for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

 

A Florida airboat captain whose hand was bitten off by a 2.7-metre alligator is facing charges of feeding the animal.

Wallace Weatherholt, 63, was charged with unlawful feeding of an alligator and posted $1000 bond on Friday, Collier County Jail records show.

Weatherholt was attacked on June 12 as he was giving an Indiana family a tour of the Everglades.

The family said Weatherholt hung a fish over the side of the boat and had his hand at the water’s surface when the alligator attacked.

Wildlife officers tracked and euthanised the gator.

Weatherholt’s hand was found but could not be reattached.

A criminal investigation followed.

Feeding alligators is an offence.

Weatherholt’s next court date is August 22.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/offbeat/14400025/us-man-in-gator-biting-charged-for-feeding/