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Necropsies Show That Stranded Pilot Whales Were Starving

A week after 51 pilot whales became stranded in the shallow waters of Florida's Everglades National Park, scientists are beginning to understand what may have led so many to perish.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which performed necropsies on 11 of the 22 whales that died, says that the animals were emaciated and malnourished. NOAA coordinator Blair Mase says the reasons behind this are less clear, suggesting other factors may have played a role in their starvation.

The agency says tests for toxins and disease are underway.

Meanwhile, the fate of the remaining 29 pilot whales remains a mystery, though it is believed that they have moved on to deeper waters. A pod was recently spotted five miles offshore, "swimming slowly and in a disorganized fashion," CNN reports.

NOAA has asked for the public's help in tracking the pod.