Cheynes Beach: Dozens of whales die in mass stranding in Western Australia

Allan Marsh/Cheynes Beach Caravan Park

Wildlife officers and volunteers are racing to save lots of dozens of whales caught off Cheynes Beach in Western Australia.


More than 50 whales have died in a mass stranding occasion in Western Australia as officers and volunteers race to save lots of dozens of others caught in shallow waters, authorities mentioned Wednesday.

In an announcement on Facebook, the Parks and Wildlife Service of Western Australia mentioned a big pod of long-finned pilot whales had been noticed Tuesday morning close to the state’s southern coast.

“Sadly, 51 whales have died overnight after a mass stranding at Cheynes Beach,” the company mentioned, including that employees and lots of of volunteers had been making an attempt to save lots of 46 different whales by returning them to deep water.

Video posted to social media reveals dozens of the whales – some laying sideways, others on their backs – flapping their tails in shallow waters. Another video reveals the whales huddling collectively, remaining nonetheless.

Wildlife officers urged the general public to stay away from the seaside, warning towards “large, distressed and potentially sick whales, sharks, waves, heavy machinery and vessels.”

Long-finned pilot whales, which might develop as much as 25 toes (7.6 meters) lengthy, are recognized by their black coloration and bulbous foreheads. They will be discovered in waters of the Southern Hemisphere and North Atlantic Ocean.

Allan Marsh/Cheynes Beach Caravan Park

A pod of stranded pilot whales off Cheynes Beach in Western Australia.

Wildlife researcher Vanessa Pirotta mentioned it stays unknown why the pilot whales grew to become stranded, however famous the pod demonstrated the uncommon habits of huddling collectively previous to their beaching.

“It could be that they are trying to avoid a predator, like a killer whale,” she mentioned.

Pilot whales are “very social and dynamic with strong bonds with others,” she mentioned, which means they might find yourself getting misplaced in the event that they adopted a disorientated pod member.

Toothed whales corresponding to pilot whales that use sonar to navigate are extra generally liable to stranding than their toothless counterparts, Pirotta mentioned.

And pilot whale strandings are widespread the world over.

Last September, round 200 had been beached alongside the coast of Tasmania, Australia. Of that quantity, solely 35 survived and had been refloated. Tasmania’s largest stranding was in 2020, when greater than 450 pilot whales had been discovered.

Earlier this month, a pod of greater than 50 pilot whales died after a mass stranding on a northwestern Scottish island.

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