Over 50 long-finned pilot whales die in a mass stranding event near Cheynes Beach, Western Australia. The Parks and Wildlife Service of Western Australia and hundreds of volunteers are attempting to save 46 other whales by returning them to deep water. Videos on social media show the whales in shallow waters, with some laying sideways or on their backs. Officials have warned the public to stay away from the beach. It is due to the presence of distressed and potentially sick whales, as well as other hazards.
Details of the Stranding:
The pod of long-finned pilot whales, know for their black color and bulbous foreheads. It was spot near the southern coast of Western Australia. Wildlife researchers are unsure why the whales became stranded. They noted the pod exhibited the rare behavior of huddling together prior to beaching. This behavior could indicate an attempt to avoid a predator, such as a killer whale. Pilot whales, known for their social nature and strong bonds with others, may get lost if they follow a disoriented pod member.
Stranding Patterns and Previous Incidents:
Toothed whales like pilot whales, which use sonar to navigate, are more susceptible to stranding compared to their toothless counterparts. Pilot whale strandings have been observe in various parts of the world, with incidents occurring in Australia, Tasmania, and Scotland. In previous instances, large numbers of stranded pilot whales have face challenges, with only a fraction surviving and being successfully refloat.
The mass stranding of over 50 long-finned pilot whales die at Cheynes Beach in Western Australia highlights the tragic nature of such events. As authorities and volunteers work to save the remaining stranded whales, researchers continue to study the reasons behind the unusual behavior of the pod. Stranding incidents are complex and often challenging to mitigate, leading to significant concern for the well-being of these marine mammals.