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Eight pilot whales have died in shallow waters off Florida's southwest coast, and six others remain unaccounted for, authorities said Tuesday.
The Coast Guard temporarily closed the area to traffic in the area and ordered boaters to reduce speeds off the shores near Fort Myers as they searched for the other whales. Of the eight deceased whales, veterinarians euthanized four of them.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service coordinator Blair Mase said necropsies will be performed on the dead whales, four of which died Monday, including two that were euthanized.
In December, more than 50 pilot whales stranded in Everglades National Park. Several died.
The U.S. Navy plans to increase sonar testing over the next five years, even as research it funded reveals worrying signs that the loud underwater noise could disturb whales and dolphins. Reported mass strandings of certain whale species have increased worldwide since the military started using sonar half a century ago. Scientists think the sounds scare animals into shallow waters where they can become disoriented and wash ashore, but technology capable of close monitoring has emerged only in about the last decade.