Dozens of pilot whales have stranded on a beach on Australia’s west coast. According to the Biodiversity and Conservation Authority (DBCA), between 50 and 100 marine mammals became distressed in shallow waters near the small town of Dunsborough, south of Perth. Numerous animal rights activists and residents rushed to the beach to shower the animals with water and thus keep them alive. However, the authorities asked the population to only approach the whales under the guidance of experts.

“We know people want to help, but we have asked them not to attempt to rescue the animals without direction from DBCA staff as this could cause further injury and stress to the animals and hinder a coordinated rescue operation,” the Western Australia State Parks and Wildlife Service said on Facebook. In mass whale strandings, human safety is always the top priority.

Expert: “Many will die in the next few hours”

Marine expert Ian Wiese, who was at the scene, told ABC Perth radio that some of the whales had already died. “The others are still struggling, but many will die in the next few hours.” The situation is terrible, he emphasized. “There are many theories around the world, but no one has really been able to find a cause for the mass whale strandings.”

In 1996, there was a mass stranding of 320 pilot whales (also known as pilot whales) in the same region. At that time almost all animals survived. In 2018, 100 ocean giants died after a mass stranding in Hamelin Bay, Western Australia. Last year, almost 100 pilot whales were stranded on Cheynes Beach, east of the city of Albany, in Western Australia. Despite all the efforts of emergency services and volunteers, none of the animals survived. According to experts, pilot whales form extremely close bonds with each other. At certain times of the year they travel in large groups, increasing the risk of mass strandings.

Video from ABC Perth report ABC release Parks and Wildlife Service