Mass Stranding Leaves More Than 50 Pilot Whales Dead In Australia 

(Photo by GLENN NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Shawntel Smith-Hill
1:37 PM – Wednesday, July 26, 2023

More than 50 pilot whales have died, with 45 more to be euthanized, after nearly 100 whales washed up and were stranded on a remote beach in Western Australia, authorities said on Wednesday.


Rescue teams had attempted to return the rest of the pod back to the water.

The pod of whales was spotted swimming close to Cheynes Beach near the city of Albany on Tuesday morning. Hours later, part of the pod suddenly found themselves stranded on the beach.

Following the discovery of the beached whales, marine scientists and volunteers set up camp at Cheynes Beach, which is roughly 173 miles southeast of Perth in Western Australia.

“Sadly, 51 whales have died overnight after a mass stranding,” the statement said. “[We] are working in partnership with registered volunteers and other organizations to try to return the remaining 46 whales to deeper water during the course of the day.”

Despite numerous efforts from staff personnel and volunteers to keep the remaining whales alive, veterinarians later made the call to euthanize the remainder of the pod, “to avoid prolonging their suffering,” the wildlife service said on a Facebook post.

“It was a difficult decision for all involved, however the welfare of the whales had to take precedence,” a wildlife service representative. “We thank everyone who assisted with the attempt to save the whales over the last two days.”

Pilot whales have been known to be highly social animals, with pods having strong bonds. Unfortunately, one whale becoming stranded often leads to the others following suit, according to marine experts.

“The beaching of a single, live animal is usually the result of sickness or injury. Bad weather, old age, navigation errors and hunting too close to shore also contribute to beachings… If one member of the group is sick or in trouble, its distress calls can cause the other members to follow it to the beach, resulting in a mass stranding,” the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida stated on their website. 

Similar occurrences of stranding have been reported in both Australia and New Zealand, which are known hot spots for large colonies of whales that live deep in the waters surrounding the islands.

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