A dozen pilot whales have been killed in Australia, amid a mass stranding along the country’s west coast, as rescuers worked to save the lives of four more.
The stranding involved a pod of long finned pilot whales, according to Yahoo News, and took place in Bunbury harbor, which is located roughly 110 miles south of Perth. Kim Williams, of the Department of Parks and Wildlife, confirmed that 12 of the whales had been killed. Rescuers’ efforts were focused on saving four of the pilot whales, which were dragged from the shallows and out to sea by boats.
— Barry Nicholls (@miltonbm) March 23, 2015
“Unfortunately one of these whales has re-stranded and is being taken out to deeper water again, while the other three are not swimming strongly and there is a chance they will also re-strand,” he observed.
The whales became stranded against a breakwater wall in the harbor, though the reasons why remain unknown. After the whales were pulled out to sea, volunteers in small boats and jetskis made as much commotion in the area as possible in an effort to keep them from returning. Another pod of 15 pilot whales was spotted in the area, and though they were not in danger of stranding, Williams noted that the rescued whales met up with them later in the day.
— PerthNow (@perthnow) March 23, 2015
This morning, the carcass of a dead whale was also discovered in the area, with three tiger sharks feeding upon it. Williams pointed out that the dead cetacean is not believed to be one of the rescued animals.
“This particular animal that the sharks were feeding on, the measurements didn’t coincide with any of the measurements of the live animals that were released yesterday, so we think it’s an additional animal that we didn’t have any encounters with yesterday,” he noted. “The four that were released did eventually meet up with another pod of 15 that were in the outer harbor late in the day, so it’s probably that the most recently deceased one is from the pod of 15.”
— NoAnimalPoaching! (@NoAnimalPoachin) March 23, 2015
The whale carcass was towed to shore, according to the ABC, in an effort to prevent the sharks from feeding on it.
Last month, nearly 200 pilot whales were stranded in New Zealand, as the Inquisitr previously reported. Over two dozen of the whales were killed in the event, double the number that perished in this week’s Australian stranding.
[Image via Twitter/@Katrin_Long]