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Rescuers Try to Save Whales Beached in Western Australia

The beaching of whales off the coast of Australia continues:

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A rescue mission is under way to save a pod of long-finned pilot whales which have become stranded on a beach south of Perth, in Western Australia.

Around 80 whales were found along a 5km (three mile) stretch of beach in front of a caravan park in Hamelin Bay, a picturesque tourist destination near the Margaret River, about 200 miles south of Perth, on Monday morning.

At least 55 of the mammals were found dead this morning, and despite rescue efforts, a further eight died today.

Environment officials, whale experts and over 100 community volunteers in wetsuits are desperately trying to save the 17 which remain alive in the shallows of the sea.

Liz Carlon, who works at the Hamelin Bay caravan park, said the giant creatures were found by people taking an early morning stroll along the beach.

“I’ve never seen this sort of thing happen in real life, I’ve only seen it with photos, but I went down on the beach and had a look myself and … just held back the tears,” Ms Carlon told the Australian Associated Press.

“I thought one was still alive because there’s quite a bit of swell down here, and the dorsal fin or part of the whale had moved but it wasn’t, it was just the waves (pushing it around).”

A spokesman for the WA Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) said they were trying to herd the remaining group together to form a pod they hoped to entice back out to sea by the morning.

[The Times Online]

I have actually been out to Hamelin Bay before and wrote about it in my Western Australia Holiday Journal.  It is actually quite a scenic area that you can see pictured below:

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It is sad to see these whales being stranded there.  This latest whale beaching comes on the heels of two prior beachings in the past four months in Tasmania as well.

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