More than 50 pilot whales have tragically died, and rescuers are in a race against time to save dozens more after a mass stranding on a beach in Western Australia.
The pod of whales was first spotted about 100 meters off the coast at Cheynes Beach, tightly clustered in an unusual sight. Subsequently, the whales began beaching themselves, prompting wildlife authorities to launch an emergency response to save them.
Despite their efforts, 51 whales died overnight on Tuesday, leaving 46 still in need of rescue. Authorities are working tirelessly to return the surviving whales to the sea on Wednesday. Dr. Andrew Brownlow, director of the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, who recently dealt with a similar incident in Scotland, explains the possible reasons for the stranding and the challenges rescuers are facing.
Mass strandings involving pilot whales have been observed before in Australia, with 230 beaching themselves on Tasmania’s coast in 2022 and 150 stranded in Western Australia in 2018.