Volunteers risk sharks in effort to save more than 130 beached whales

25 March, 2018, 01:32 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Over 150 Pilot Whales Beached In Australia, Only 15 Alive [Photos, Video]

Locals and tourists have been warned to stay out of the water due to a likely increase in sharks attracted by the dead stranded whales.

A massive rescue operation was launched by a fishermen on Friday to return the stranded mammals back to the sea.

A rescue operation to save the whales, some of which are still alive, has been taking place in Hamelin Bay, Australia, for three days already.

Most of the whales did not survive after beaching themselves, according to Jeremy Chick, incident controller at Western Australia's Parks & Wildlife Service.

Parks and Wildlife Service officers took DNA samples to collect clues about why whales strand.

Rescue efforts were hampered by dead whales in the water, rocky terrain and rough seas at the bay.

Authorities have closed down the beaches in the area and issued an alert over the possible presence of sharks, which occasionally attack humans in this part of the country.

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Parks and Wildlife Service staff are being assisted by vets, Sea Search and Rescue, and more than 100 volunteers.

It is not known why the whales washed up on the beach, but it is thought they were following subtropical waters around the coast.

One woman told the Daily Mail Australia when they initially got to the beach, they assumed all the animals were dead before noticing some were still desperately trying to get back into the water.

The short-finned pilot whales were spotted Friday morning on the coastline of Hamelin Bay, about 160 miles south of Perth.

The surviving whales were later placed in shallow water but it was hard to move them further out as they were surrounding by the dead whales, and because of the beach's rocky terrain and rough seas.

Scientists do not know exactly what causes whales to beach themselves. "This has often been the case in previous mass strandings", the department wrote.

WA's largest mass stranding involved 320 long-finned pilot whales at Dunsborough in 1996.

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