Speculation continues tonight over the cause of death of twenty-eight pilot whales on San Clemente Island...
matte at the top: ??? Ramirez NBC Reporter
matte San Clemente Is.
matte Mrs. Margaret McCoy
matte Clark Cameroon Wildlife Patrol
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REPORTER: Joe Ramirez
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Background: Speculation continues tonight over the cause of death of twenty-eight pilot whales on San Clemente Island...about fifty-five miles Southwest of Los Angeles. Some say the whales were victims of well-meaning ecologists who poured lye into the water around the island in order to stifle growth of kelp which had been killing off sea urchins.
SYNOPSIS: The area where the 28 pilot whales swam ashore is part of the Navy's gunnery Range. Nobody knows why the whale Beached themselves. Marine biologists theorize that if the leader--or pilot--becomes sick, he swims to shore to breathe easier...and the rest of the herd follows. But, they couldn't return to the sea..so they died. The herd was discovered 2 days ago by some commercial fishermen.
No rescue attempt was possible because of their bulk weight. There are efforts, however, under way to determine what killed them. There is even speculation that their deaths were caused by lime which had been spread on the water to kill sea urchins.
No one knows what killed these whales. Perhaps, their death is symbolic of a problem that man is beginning to cope with..the problem of pollution..Joe Ramirez, KNBC News, San Clemente Island