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Navy denies sonar training near dead pilot whale discovery

NAPLES, Fla. — A team of researchers will perform necropsies, or animal autopsies, on 25 dead pilot whales on Kice Island, south of Marco Island.

It still could take several weeks or months to learn what caused the whales to beach themselves, said Kim Amendola, an NOAA spokeswoman. She said it was likely the team would return Friday night without much news about the cause.

“Every once in a while, we can see something that might immediately strike us,” Amendola said. “(But) it’s pretty rare that in a gross necropsy to see signs of what could cause stranding.”

Samples taken today from the whales will require a full analysis, possibly to include blood work.

The NOAA did contact the Navy, which said it had not been doing any sonar training in the area, according to Amendola. Military sonar is thought to be responsible for certain strandings of marine mammals.

Amendola said officials still were trying to decide what to do with the dead whales after the necropsies.
 

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