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Marion Narrows Whale Stranding


About 11 long-fin pilot whales have been returned to the water after beaching themselves earlier today at two sites at Marion Bay in the State's south east.

However, it is likely that the majority of an estimated 60 to 70 whales altogether are dead, despite quick action from scientists, rangers and members of the public to rescue them.

A member of the public reported the stranding of the larger pod this morning.

About 30 Parks and Wildlife Service and Resource Management and Conservation Division officers along with Police and Antarctic Division and other volunteers joined the rescue operation in a bid to save the survivors.

Senior Marine Biologist Rosemary Gales said the first pod of beached whales - a large pod of 60 - were in an area at the south east end of Marion Bay and scientific officers from the Department of Primary, Industries, Water and Environment conducted an aerial investigation of the stranding soon after.

"Seven of these whales have been refloated and rescuers are using boats to help encourage these whales into deeper water," Dr Gales said.

"The second smaller pod was discovered early in the afternoon and involved approximately seven pilot whales. This was located at the northern end of Long Spit, further south of Marion Bay," she said.

"Four of these whales were refloated but three had already died." Dr Gales said the long-fin pilot whales are a very social animal, which tended to travel in family groups of up to 100. It is likely that the rescue efforts will go on into the evening.

The last significant whale stranding was at Trial Harbour on the West Coast after Christmas last year. There was a stranding of long-fin pilot whales on the East Coast, including in the Marion Bay area, in October 1998 when approximately 57 whales died.

The Whale and Dolphin Sightings Hotline is 0427 942 537 or 0427WHALES.

For further information, see our web pages on whale strandings.

Also view a movie of the Marion Narrows Whale Stranding and the attempts of rescuers to save the whales (1.76Mb).

Marion Narrows Whale Stranding
Marion Narrows Whale Stranding
Marion Narrows Whale Stranding