Home News 29 pilot whales die after mass stranding on Australian beach

29 pilot whales die after mass stranding on Australian beach

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More than 100 long-finned pilot whales that stranded off the coast of Western Australia on Thursday have been returned to the ocean and 29 of them died on the beach, wildlife officials said.

WA Parks and Wildlife regional wildlife officer Pia Courtis said in a press conference posted by the agency on social media on Thursday that officials were working to remove the 29 dead whales from the beach. The agency plans to collect biological samples from the dead whales and take measurements for research.

Boats are on the water after maritime officers and volunteers helped other whales return to sea, and a surveillance aircraft is monitoring the area to ensure they do not return to shore.

Local wildlife officials said the four pods of 160 pilot whales were spread out on about 1,640 feet of beach in Toby Bay near the Western Australian town of Dunsborough on Thursday morning. in a statement on social media.

Photos shared by Wildlife Services on Facebook showed rows of whales lying on the shore as people gathered to watch the mass stranding.

The wildlife department said the whale rescued Thursday had moved further out to sea and was last seen heading north.

“So far so good – they haven’t made it back to shore but we will continue to monitor them,” Ms Courtis said.

Officials said they did not know the cause of the strandings, which included mostly adult females and some calves. Generally speaking, experts speculate that the causes of such strandings may include groups of whales following sick or trapped whales and becoming stranded themselves; confusion caused by undersea noise caused by humans; or attempts to avoid predators.

There have been a number of mass strandings in Australia in recent years.

in July, A pod of nearly 100 long-finned pilot whales Trapped in shallow water near a remote beach in Western Australia. More than 50 people died and the rest were later euthanized.

One of Australia’s deadliest strandings occurred in 2020, when 470 whales became stranded on the Tasmanian coastline. Most of them died.

Pilot whales can grow up to 24 feet in length and weigh up to 6,600 pounds.When a pilot whale becomes stranded, rescuers usually in a race against time Because once whales leave the water, the weight of their bodies can crush their organs.

Pilot whales, whose fins can be short or long, are known for being social animals, often living in large schools of hundreds of whales divided into tight-knit groups of 10 to 20. according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Experts say mass strandings on beaches show whales have strong social bonds.

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