A mass stranding of pilot whales has affected the beaches and community of Cheynes Beach, near Albany, Australia. State Parks and Wildlife officials tried to save the portion of the animals that weren't dead yet, but to no avail, and the surviving pilot whales were euthanized.
By the time the herd had been sighted by the local authorities, who then arrived on site to try to do something about it, it was already probably too late. 51 pilot whales were already dead The 45 pilot whales still alive were eventually euthanized.
Peter Hartley, the director of the Parks and Wildlife Service, the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation, said the culling was done to avoid prolonging their suffering. Mass stranding of pilot whales in Australia: 45 of them euthanized Whales can become stranded due to a navigational error when, for example, they follow the currents or try to get food without realizing that they have ended up in shallow water.
The phenomenon can sometimes be caused by marine pollution or noise produced by human activities such as military sonar, underwater construction or drilling activities which can confuse the whales and affect their ability to navigate.
Pilot whales may become stranded because they follow an accidentally lost party member to try to help. Finally, the cause could be the presence of an illness or infection that causes them to lose their strength or ability to navigate properly.
Before the death of the 45 pilot whales, Parks and Wildlife Service, Western Australia, wrote on Facebook: "Fantastic effort today from 250 registered volunteers, more than 100 staff from the Parks and Wildlife Service and other agencies as they worked tirelessly in and out of the water, managing to keep all 45 pilot whales alive throughout the day.
Over the next couple of hours, staff and volunteers, with the assistance of small vessels and surf skis, will attempt to safely and gently move the animals into deeper waters, giving them the best chance of survival.Here is some vision of the amazing rescue efforts so far."
Photo Credits: Parks and Wildlife Service, Western Australia Facebook page