GLYNN CO, Ga. (WTOC) - Glynn County Emergency Management made it a point on Tuesday to thank volunteers and first responders that came out to help a large number of whales that washed up on St. Simon’s Island.
Lacey Creech with the Georgia Department of National Resources confirmed, “This is not their normal habitat.” Creech said when the Georgia DNR and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center became involved there were 16-20 whales that were beaching themselves continuously.
“While stranding is a known natural occurrence, the only thing we can do is to continue pushing them out to sea,” says Wildlife Biologist Clay George.
DNR Wildlife Resources Division, DNR Coastal Resources Division, Georgia Sea Turtle Center, NOAA, Glynn County Emergency Management all responded to the beach to assist moving the whales back into the water.
They were mostly successful; some of the whales were able to return to the water, but three did die. Those whales will be given a necropsy to assess the cause of death.
Jennie Yardman was on East Beach on St Simons when the whales began appearing and sent WTOC video of what appeared to be more than 20 whales and good samaritans helping the mammals back into deeper waters.
Creech said of the DNR team, “They will continue to work as long as they possibly can to try to continue to get these whales back to sea.”
According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Pilot whales are one of the species that will mass strand, a phenomenon in which an entire school beaches itself; scientists have been unable to agree on a cause for this behaviour.”