Pilot Whales Beach Themselves On St. Simons Island Shore

Jul 17, 2019

Multiple Pilot whales (Globicephala melas) repeatedly beached themselves on Georgia’s St. Simons Island Wednesday morning, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. 

While most of the whales were rescued by authorities and onlookers who pulled the animals further into the water, two incapacitated whales need to be euthanized, DNR whale biologist Clay George said in a news release. These whales will be taken for a necropsy. 

The remaining whales were last seen swimming in the sound, and it is hoped they will continue to keep moving out to sea.

Among cetaceans, pilot whales are the most common species known to strand in mass numbers, and George said the whales were likely confused as they normally stay more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) offshore.

The American Cetacean Society says pilot whales are often involved in mass strandings partly due to their social nature.