29 pilot whales die after mass stranding in Australia

29 pilot whales die after mass stranding in Australia

Around 160 long-finned pilot whales were stranded at Toby Inlet in Western Australia on Thursday. Twenty-eight animals died on the beach, and a calf was euthanized the following day.

The whale calf had lost his family and was suffering, according to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

“Marine experts and vets monitored the animal closely and it appeared to be showing clear signs of distress. An up-close veterinary assessment found the animal’s health to be deteriorating, with no chance of survival without its mother,” the DBCA stated in a Facebook post on Friday.

The department reported that the stranded whales formed four pods, covering an area of about 500 meters along the coast. Wildlife officers, marine scientists, veterinarians, and over 100 volunteers were able to rescue 131 pilot whales.

This incident follows a similar tragedy in July last year, where 100 pilot whales died after stranding on a remote beach in Western Australia.

In September 2022, 200 pilot whales died after stranding on a beach in the Australian state of Tasmania.

Australia and New Zealand have historically been hotspots for mass whale strandings, and various causes have been suggested. 

When sick, stressed, or dying, whales often approach the coast. If an entire school of whales becomes stranded, it could mean they have followed a sick whale. 

Bad weather or ship noise can also lead to animals washing ashore because they are no longer able to navigate well.

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