Australië, 25 maart 2009 – Verantwoordelijken van het DEC vrezen dat slechts 1 van de vrijgelaten grienden het gehaald heeft nadat er opnieuw 9 grienden gestrand zijn.
Wildlife officers fear all but one of 10 whales pushed out to sea off Western Australia have stranded themselves a second time.
The animals were among 87 long-finned pilot whales and five dolphins washed up on the beach at Hamelin Bay before sunrise on Monday.
Some returned to sea but more than 70 whales and four of the dolphins died, and their carcasses have since been removed from the beach.
On Tuesday, The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) trucked 11 surviving whales 20 kilometres to Flinders Bay and herded them out to sea.
One of the whales later had to be euthanased after becoming distressed and separating from the pod.
But nine whales have now been found stranded. It’s feared they are from the rescued group. Six were spotted on a beach six kilometres east of Augusta.
Two were already dead and four were in such poor condition they would have to be put down, said Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) information officer Jason Foster.
“As well as the six whales east of Augusta, three other whales have been sighted stranded in the Hamelin Bay area,” Mr Foster said.
“One is at Boranup North Point while two others are further south.
“One has been attacked by sharks.”
A vet has accompanied DEC marine mammal expert Doug Coughran to the site where the six stranded whales were found on today.
Before they are euthanased, the whales will be measured and checked to confirm if they were among the 10 returned to sea on Tuesday.
“The location is along a rugged stretch of coastline and it is impossible to bring in the machinery necessary to attempt a further rescue,” Mr Foster said.
“There is no area on the beach where a helicopter can land safely so the team will have to use four-wheel-drive motorbikes to access the area from private property.”
DEC officers had to use helicopters and four-wheel-drives to get to the latest stranding site.
Another whale has been found dead north of Hamelin Bay where the mass stranding occurred but Mr Foster said it is not believed to be one of the whales herded out yesterday.
The whales initially resisted their rescuers’ efforts, with at least two starting to swim back to shore.
But they were last seen heading for deeper waters late on Tuesday evening.
A mammoth rescue effort involving up to 180 volunteers, wildlife officers and veterinarians began when the whales and dolphins were discovered by early beach walkers at the holiday community, south of Margaret River.
There have been 21 mass strandings of whales and dolphins along the West Australian coast since 1984, the DEC says.