Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium has been in the Sarasota area for the past 40 years. The primary mission of this non-profit organization is to undertake scientific research on the natural Florida marine habitat and to educate the public. It also provides rehabilitation of Florida marine mammals & fish, such as dolphins, whales & manatees, and promotes the protection of marine species and coral reefs.
During this recent outbreak of the red tide, two pygmy whales and one melon-headed whale were rescued. These sick whales were named Thunder, Lightning and Bolt, and they were given full-time critical care and medical treatment. Unfortunately, they did not survive. The scientists at Mote Marine are dedicated to learning as much as possible from these animals. Each one has had a necropsy and the results have been sent to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation to test for exposure to the red tide toxin.