Three whales that were rescued from a mass stranding Labor Day weekend are now a permanent fixture of Sea World Orlando's Whale & Dolphin Stadium.
The whales were rescued near Fort Pierce and have been receiving round the clock care at Sea World's rehabilitation quarantine facility.
According to a press release by Sea World, the whales could not be returned to the wild because they were dependent calves at the time of rescue.
National Marine Fisheris Services determines what rescued animals can be returned to their natural habitat.
National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) recently determined that the pilot whales could not be returned to the wild because they were dependent calves at the time of rescue.
“The goal of our program is to always rescue, rehabilitate and return ill and injured animals,” said Mike Boos, Vice President of Zoological Operations at Sea World.
“Some injuries are too severe or the animals are too young at the time of rescue for them to be successfully returned to the wild. In this case, the animals were too young. Were it not for the hard work and dedication of our team, as well as other agencies, these three short-finned pilot whales would not be alive today.”
The pilot whales will be joining another rescued, non-releasable female pilot whale, Freddi, who was rescued during a mass stranding in the lower Florida Keys in May 2011.