ORLANDO, Fla. – A pilot whale at SeaWorld Orlando died Saturday after having long-standing medical issues, theme park officials confirmed.
NOAA 301 or Fredi, was part of a mass stranding of 23 pilot whales that the SeaWorld Rescue Team and partners responded to in 2011, near Cudjoe Key, Florida.
After two months of effort from both the National Marine Fisheries Services and the SeaWorld team, eight of the stranded whales survived. Two of the whales were put onto a barge and taken 40 miles off the coast.
Fredi was a calf and was considered too young to be returned to the ocean. SeaWorld was chosen to help rehabilitate her and provide a home because of the park’s experience with pilot whales.
According to a blog post written by SeaWorld,
“Whales and dolphins that strand, full recovery is not always guaranteed. This pilot whale faced continued health issues since her initial stranding."
The whale had been undergoing an aggressive anti-microbial treatment to treat a persistent infection.
"In recent months her condition progressed, requiring advanced monitoring and care by the SeaWorld veterinary and animal care teams. Despite that full effort, her health and quality of life declined recently and she was no longer responding to treatment.”
“301 lived the past eight years at SeaWorld with a pod of rescued pilot whales and received world-class care and a second chance she would not have had otherwise and provided the rescue team with invaluable knowledge on how to respond to, and care for stranded animals,” a post from the theme park read.
SeaWorld does not believe the infection to be contagious but continues to monitor the other whales on-site.
"Fredi had inspired millions of guests and her care team, and she will be forever missed," SeaWorld said.
To read the entire article written by SeaWorld click or tap here.