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(CNN) - Four whales were stranded on a beach in South Carolina, USA. One of them died and the other three had to be slaughtered, a local news station reported.
The four whales were discovered early Saturday at Edisto Beach and it was not clear how long they had been there, Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network Director Lauren Rust told WCSC, a CNN affiliate.
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"Pilot whales are usually at least 160 kilometers or more offshore," Rust told the affiliate.
"So when you see them so close to the coast, it's definitely alarming."
The nonprofit organization said on its Facebook page that there was a reason why whales were not pushed into the ocean while they were alive.
"For a species of deep water like this, or any marine mammal, to be weak enough to run aground, there is usually a reason (illness, injury, etc.)," the network said. "Pushing them back into the ocean only prolongs their suffering and makes them vulnerable to becoming prey."
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The network said that "the most human" was to end their suffering through euthanasia.
Taking them to rehabilitation was not an option, since animals of this size are not good candidates, the network said, and transporting them to a facility like Seaworld would stress them greatly.
"All this is taken into account when animals stay alive," said the network. “With the help of a local veterinarian, it was determined that the animals were not healthy enough for any of these scenarios. We did our best to keep the animals as comfortable as possible until the vet arrived. ”
Preliminary findings of the autopsy did not show "obvious signs of causing massive stranding," the network said, as a disease or human causes.
But if the whales have gone far enough to run aground, they will most likely run aground, Rust told the affiliate.
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Last week, Georgia saw its second massive whaling runoff this year, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Around 26 whales were stranded on or near St. Catherines Island, south of Savannah, and 16 of them died. Necropsies are performed to determine why the whales ended up on the beach.