Dozens of whales die in Australia after mass stranding near Perth harbour

The whales were first spotted early on Monday after becoming stuck in rocks near Bunbury Harbour in Perth

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The Independent Online

A pod of 12 long-finned pilot whales have died after becoming stuck in rocks near a busy harbour on the Perth coast yesterday.

Despite efforts by rescue workers to save the animals, the carcasses of eight adults and four calves lined the beach just outside Bunbury Harbour after rescue workers tried for five hours to save the animals.

There are also fears for a remaining four whales that continue to find themselves in trouble off the Perth coast. According to the Department of Parks and Wildlife, the pod had become stranded early on Monday along the breakwater wall adjacent to the harbour.

A group of 50 people including staff and volunteers from the Dolphin Discovery Centre were  quickly mobilised to try and help the whales to deeper water.

AN66129905epa04675936-A-han.jpgWhile the volunteers were able to herd six of the stranded whales to safety, 12 others were left stranded and eventually died.

On Monday, rescue workers continued to try and save the remaining four whales that continue to struggle in waters near the harbour.

Speaking yesterday, Western Australia's Department of Parks and Wildlife leader Kim Williams said: “This afternoon's efforts have focussed on the rescue of four remaining whales that were stranded in the shallows, and they were pulled out to sea using a sling and boats,” he said.

“Unfortunately one of these whales has re-stranded and is being taken out to deeper water again, while the other three are not swimming strongly and there is a chance they will also re-strand.”

It is hoped that the remaining whales can join a pod of 15 other long-finned pilot whales that have been swimming close-by.

Yesterday, the signs did not look good, with one whale re-stranding itself and another two said to “not be swimming strongly.”