Only five out of 150 pilot whales stranding en masse on the coast of Western Australia have survived.
The pilot whales stranded en masse at Hamelin Bay, Western Australian coast, 180 miles south of Perth.
Of the 6 long-finned Pilot whales we refloated, one has restranded and been euthanised. Unfortunately this is not uncommon in whales that are refloated. The remaining 5 Pilot whales have not been resighted. #whalestranding #whale #pilotwhale #Rescue pic.twitter.com/FGyNE73w56
— Bec Wellard (@BecOrcaTalk) March 24, 2018
The local fishermen discovered them on Friday. The stranding whales en masse prompted major rescue efforts.
Most of the whales, however, didn’t make it till the nightfall. 140 whales died by the nightfall.
More than 150 Short-finned Pilot Whales have stranded on a beach in Hamelin Bay, Western Australia today. Only six of the whales survived and rescuers have refloated & returned them to deeper water. They are being monitored in case any of them strand again. pic.twitter.com/PokiZsgZTd
— Quad Finn (@Quad_Finn) March 24, 2018
The weather condition deteriorating and the frenzied sharks on attack impeded the rescue efforts.
Parks and Wildlife Service spokesperson Jeremy Chick said in a statement following the death of the whales, “Unfortunately, most of the whales beached themselves on dry land overnight [on Thursday] and have not survived.”
— Graham Johnston (@GJShark) March 24, 2018
Parks and Wildlife parks and business development coordinator Ben Tannock told The Sydney Morning Herald after whales stranded en masse, “It’s one of the mysteries of nature. Hopefully, we can save as many as we can, but once they come ashore like that they do deteriorate quite quickly.”
More than 100 volunteers and wildlife personnel came to join the rescue mission.
Most of the whales, however, couldn’t be rescued.
UPDATE: Of the six Short-finned Pilot Whales that were rescued from yesterday's mass stranding in Western Australia, one stranded again & had to be euthanized while the other five remain in deep water. https://t.co/MqGP8HAuJC pic.twitter.com/DbnFoJrKFW
— Quad Finn (@Quad_Finn) March 25, 2018
The pilot whale is a species largely known for its nature to strand en masse. This species often beach themselves and die in large number.
Pilot whale population numbers are unknown; however, they are not considered endangered. There are an estimated 1 million long-finned pilot whales and approximately 200,000 short-finned pilot whales worldwide.