TARPON SPRINGS, FL -- It appears those five whales that beached themselves in Pinellas County over the weekend... simply got lost.
The CEO of an aquarium where two of the whales are getting checked out says there's no sign of illness. David Yates says these short finned pilot whales normally hang out in deep water well offshore, and likely got disoriented in the shallow waters west of Tampa Bay, possibly losing sight of their leader before beaching.
Three of the whales were tagged and released. They're being tracked by satellite, making it easier to take the two recovering whales out for a reunion in the Gulf. Yates says there's no timetable but the release could happen quickly once the two remaining whales are medically cleared.
The two remaining pilot whales are getting checked out at a facility that Yates compares to an acute care hospital emergency room. It was built on land donated by Pinellas County near Fred Howard Park and opened just a month ago. Yates says the aquarium has been planning a grand opening but got upstaged by their new visitors. Unlike the main aquarium, this facility is not open to the public.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is best known as the home of Winter, a rescued dolphin featured in the "Dolphin Tale" movies.
Photo Credit: Clearwater Marine Aquarium