Pilot whale pods wash up on Western Australian beaches as locals desperately try to save 70 stranded animals
A large pod of whales stranded on a WA beach was first spotted ashore early today
A large pod of pilot whales has been stranded on a beach in Western Australia.
More than 70 whales were spotted in a tight group about 100 meters off Cheyennes Beach, about 70 kilometers northeast of Albany, Western Australia, on Tuesday morning.
Unfortunately dozens of them have now washed up on the beach and locals have come down to the bay to save them.
The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) has warned the public not to get too close to the whales.
‘A pod of about 60-70 long-finned pilot whales has started stranding on Cheyenne Beach,’ the DBCA confirmed.
‘The DBCA is leading a response and managing the incident.’
While the department has acknowledged a wide range of offers to help free the whales from beaches, they have maintained conservation as their priority.
‘We understand the public’s concern at this time and appreciate offers of assistance from volunteers,’ the post read.
‘However, the safety of the public and the whales is our main priority, so we ask members of the public not to approach the beach.’
Horrific footage reveals around 60-70 pilot whales stranded on Chains Beach (pictured), about 70km north-east of Albany, Western Australia
The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has urged the public to stay away from beaches as they develop plans to save beached whales.
The department preciously issued a warning not to approach the pods ‘via drones or ships’ while they were still off the coast.
DBCA officials remained on the beach throughout the day, monitoring the ‘behaviour and movement of the pods’ until they were stranded.
Speaking to The West, local caravan park owner Joanne Marsh first spotted the pod around Monday night and described their movements as ‘completely strange’.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s tide table, the whales are currently beached at low tide and the next high tide will occur before 5am on Wednesday.
Anyone interested in potentially helping with the effort to return the whales to the water is urged to register with DBCA Albany on (08) 9842 4500.
Why do whales beach themselves?
In short, no one knows, but theories include:
Navigational errors: The gently sloping coastline near shore and food-rich ocean currents can cause confusion. Toxic algae blooms: can cause widespread illness in pods with viruses and animals can become too sick to swim. Shipping and military gold interference: This can frighten animals and cause distress and even decompression sickness when swimming to the surface. Mass suicide: There is little evidence to support this theory.