Rescue efforts are underway for dozens of whales beached along an Australia coast

Rescue efforts are being made to save dozens of pilot whales that have been beached along a coast in Western Australia, though over 50 whales have already perished.

The incident: Nearly 100 long-finned pilot whales stranded themselves on Tuesday near the city of Albany, giving cause for concern as they increasingly moved closer to the shore.
* By the afternoon, a large stretch of the shoreline was covered in beached whales.

The rescue efforts: Volunteers along with officials from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions are working to get the surviving whales back into the water and encourage them to swim away.
* The rescue team includes veterinarians from Perth Zoo and marine fauna experts.
* They are using specialized equipment, including vessels and slings.
* A large number of volunteers also came forward to help, to the point that officials said they had enough registered volunteers and urged the public to stay away from the beach.

Previous incidents: This occurrence reminds of similar incidents, where in September, around 200 whales died after stranding themselves on the remote west coast of Tasmania and in the following month, nearly 500 pilot whales died after stranding themselves on two remote beaches in New Zealand.

Interesting behaviors: Wildlife experts have suggested that this unusual behavior could be an indicator of stress or illness within the pod and the stranding could be because of disorientation, even though the exact reasons remain unclear.
* Pilot whales are highly social animals and often maintain close relationships with their pods throughout their lives.
* They often exhibit a “follow-the-leader” type mentality which could lead to mass strandings

View original article on NPR

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