Whales that stranded on St. Simons moving away from Georgia coast, biologist says

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ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — A state biologist in Georgia says dozens of pilot whales appear to be heading back to sea a day after many of them came perilously close to swimming ashore and beaching themselves.

Clay George of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said the pod of whales was about 6 miles offshore Wednesday afternoon. He says conservationists following the whales counted at least 45 and he’s “cautiously optimistic” they will keep moving away from the coast.

Three whales became stranded and died when the pod appeared Tuesday off the beach of St. Simons Island. Beachgoers helped lifeguards and wildlife officials keep most of the pod in the water.

George says pilot whales typically keep about 100 miles off the Georgia coast. The American Cetacean Society says pilot whales are often involved in mass strandings, partly due to their social nature.

READ MORE: Dozens help pod of whales beached on St. Simons Island

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