More than 50 whales stranded
June 02, 2005
MORE than 50 whales are stranded on a beach
south of Perth, and authorities fear for another 50 animals swimming
nearby.The Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) is
urgently calling for volunteers to assist in the rescue operation that
began shortly after the whale stranding was reported at 8am (WST).
The whales, believed to be false killer whales, are on the beach near
Dolphin Bay boat ramp in West Busselton, 230km south of Perth.
CALM planning officer Mark Pittavino said 30 to 50 more whales were
just off the coast and the number of those stranded could increase to
"The initial strategies will focus on looking after the health and
welfare of the whales which are on the beach, trying to keep that pod
together," Mr Pittavino said.
"We're also trying to get surveillance organised.
"We need to get an aircraft in the air to see if there are other
animals in the area because the decision may be, if there are stragglers
close by, we could try to herd them into one pod."
Moving the animals – many of which were four to five metres long – out
to sea was a longer-term objective, he said.
It was unclear why the whales had stranded.
"People need to realise that because we don't know what the cause of
this stranding is, that even if we do move the animals out to sea, it is
possible they could turn around and come back in again," he said.
Mr Pittavino said volunteer whale carers should lodge their details at
a registration point near the Dolphin Bay ramp.
"They need to bring wetsuits, booties, warm clothing, be prepared to
stay for a long time and make their own arrangements for storage and
security of personal items," he said.
This is the second whale stranding near Busselton in a month.
On April 3, 19 long-finned pilot whales beached themselves at Geographe
Bay. Six died, but about 50 volunteers and CALM staff managed to urge 13
survivors back out to sea.