A report has just come in of more than 150 pilot whales in a mass stranding in Hamelin Bay on Australia’s west coast early Friday morning. Although trained volunteers and officials from the Parks & Wildlife Service rushed to the area only six whales were returned to the sea. Rescuing the live whales was difficult due to rough seas and the rocky beach terrain.
“The conditions are challenging but we are doing all we can to give these animals the best chance of survival without risking the safety of staff and volunteers,” said Jeremy Chick of Parks & Wildlife. (photo – abcperth news)
“Once we have moved the whales out we will monitor the situation closely as it is possible the whales will come back into shore and re-strand. This has often been the case in previous mass strandings.”
It is common to see rescued whales return to the beach. “I watched one of them—it happened three times but still it wouldn’t go back to sea” said one of the volunteers. (photo – Parks & Wildlife) See video here.
Pilot Whales in Mass Strandings is not uncommon
Unfortunately, pilot whales beaching themselves like this has happened all too frequently along Australia’s west coast. In 1991, 38 short-finned pilot whales died near Broome and 320 pilot whales stranded in Dunsborough in 1996. Just last year New Zealand experienced a mass stranding of pilot whales as well, see our article: 2017: A Bad Year for Whales.
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network
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