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Pod of Killer whales rescued after stranding in Australia

05/07/2013 10:02:54
whales/2013/qld_orca

A pod of killer whales live stranded near Fraser Island off Queensland. Photo: Department of National Parks.

Killer whales swim free after rescue
July 2013. Five killer whales that stranded on sandbanks off the western side of Fraser Island, off Queensland in Australia, have swum free on the following high tide; sadly two more orca died on a separate beach nearby, believed to be a mother and calf.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Acting Regional Director Sunshine and Fraser Coast Peter Wright said the whales - 4 adults and a juvenile - were found stranded early in the morning at Sheridan Flats in Great Sandy Strait, near the southern tip of Fraser Island.

Four more orca waited at sea
Mr Wright said "Four more killer whales were seen swimming in the area, and a further two killer whales were found dead at nearby Bookar Island. The live stranded whales were kept in good condition, and around 5pm were seen heading south, swimming well and in the company of the four whales which seem to have been waiting all day for them. It's hoped they will make it out to the open sea on the tide.

Water and shade to keep them cool
"After being alerted this morning, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers and Queensland Boating and Fisheries officers went to Sheridan Flats to care for the whales. Six rangers and two Boating and Fisheries officers kept the whales comfortable with water and shade, monitoring the whales' breathing and other vital signs while waiting for the tide to rise.

"Weather conditions were difficult, with winds 20 to 25 knots. It was a great effort from all concerned to keep these whales in good condition. It is not known how long the whales were stranded, nor do we know why they stranded. The Humpback whale migration is currently at its peak, and we know killer whales follow the Humpbacks," Mr Wright said.

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