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Another mass whale stranding in Australia

24/03/2009 08:43:34 80 Wales and dolphins have stranded in Western Australia.

March 2009. Following on from 2 recent mass stranding in Tasmania, some 80 false killer whales and bottlenose dolphins have stranded in Hamelin Bay, south-west of Margaret River. Latest reports are that only 25 of the false killer whales have been found alive. Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) staff and volunteers are currently working to stabilise the 25 false killers whales that remain alive.

DEC Incident Controller Greg Mair said the veterinary assistance had been organised to assess the health and well-being of the alive whales and equipment provided by Sea Search and Rescue was the on the way to assist efforts to return the whales back to deeper water.

"Our main priority is to ensure the welfare of the remaining alive whales before we herd them back out sea. When we will be assisting them back to sea depends on ocean conditions and the strength of the animals, at present ocean conditions are quite dangerous with rough seas and large waves." he said.

DEC has enlisted the help of West Whales, which has volunteers experienced in whale stranding rescue efforts.

False killer whales
False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) are medium-sized whales with long, slender bodies and narrow, tapered heads with rounded snouts. Average length is 4.6 metres for females and 5.4 metres for males. They are found world-wide in all tropical and temperate seas and often found in herds of more than 100 individuals of both sexes and all ages. It is not uncommon for the species to strand. In WA, mass strandings of the species have occurred in 1986, 1988, 2002 and 2005.

Bottlenose dolphins
Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates) are common in cold, temperate and tropical seas and estuaries all over the world. The species has a prominent dorsal fins and are known to strand singly or in small groups.
Since 1984 there have been 21 mass strandings of whales and dolphins along the coast of WA.

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