Treasure Coast Essay
7:20 am
Mon September 10, 2012

Trying to save stranded whales

It made news from coast to coast.  Twenty-two short-fin pilot whales stranded themselves at Avalon State Beach on North Hutchinson Island in St. Lucie County.  Seventeen of them perished.  But the story had two positive angles.  One was that hundreds of Treasure Coast volunteers converged on the beach to help the black mammals, which weighed up to a ton.  The other positive angle was that five juvenile whales were transported in vehicles to a pool at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute on the other side of the Indian River Lagoon.  Had the whales been pushed back into the water, they would just have beached themselves again.  Under the direction of experts, the volunteers turned the whales upright so they could breathe and covered them with wet towels.  As for the five juveniles, vets were trying to get one to bottle feed.  The others were being tube-fed a “fish shake” – ground-up fish with vitamins and minerals added.  Doesn’t sound yummy to me, but young whales love it.  In my August 27th essay on a veterans retraining program at Indian River State College, I got the name of an advisor wrong.  She is Ruby Jefferson, not Ruby Jeffries.  I apologize.  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch