Eight Pilot Whales that stranded themselves in Estero Bay are dead.
Fourteen Pilot Whales were spotted near Lover’s Key early Monday.
Since then, four of those stranded whales died from swimming in shallow water– onsite veterinarians euthanized another four by Tuesday afternoon.
The six remaining members of the pod are unaccounted for. Wildlife officials have been searching for them by boat and helicopter, but haven’t spotted the whales.
A team of federal, state and local officials removed the dead whales from the water.
Erin Fougeres with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the whales were taken to Lover's Key State Park.
“On the animals that are found dead or are humanely euthanized we’re doing necropsies – which are animal autopsies,” she said. “So, we are doing full work-ups of the animals to try to determine the cause of the stranding or the cause of death.”
A pod of 23 whales were spotted in Collier County over the weekend. That pod has not been seen since.
Last month, more than 50 pilot whales were stranded in Everglades National Park. About a dozen whales died during that stranding.