A pilot whale calf that stranded May 5 off the lower Florida Keys has recovered and is being transported from a Keys-based marine mammal rehabilitation facility to Orlando.
The 2 year old, 600-pound, 9-foot-long female had a five-hour trip in a cooled truck's water-transport unit from a care facility in Key Largo to its new Central Florida home early this morning.
"It's still too early to tell her long-term prognosis, but she traveled well, she's getting settled into her new surroundings, and we're cautiously optimistic about her future," park animal expert and chief veterinarian Dr. Chris Dold said in a prepared statement.
SeaWorld Orlando's Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility, which includes a new 40,000 gallon pool designed to serve animals rescued from the wild, will be the whale's home. Animal experts will monitor it constantly.
The whale and 20 other pilot whales beached themselves in early May. The National Marine Fisheries service and other experts determined the whale needed extensive treatment, according to SeaWorld.
The park's policy is to treat animals until they are capable of surviving on their own in the wild. Animals – such as this pilot whale – determined to be unable to survive alone have a permanent home at the park's facility.