Most of 150 stranded whales die on Australian beach

He asked the public at Hamelin Bay, south of Perth, to keep an eye in case they spot a stranded whale. But those already close to the shore, may wash up on the beach, like this whale that appeared in Rio de Janeiro.

People cheered, clapped and hugged as the surviving whales swam out to sea.

Authorities and trained volunteers were trying to save 15 in shallow waters.

But he noted, "Migrating dolphins and whales are not infinite 'resources;' they are living and vital parts of the ocean eco-system that the nations and government agencies of the world must take action to protect before it is too late".

Rescuers were struggling to herd the survivors out into deeper water.

Shannon Stent was one of the volunteers who worked to try to save the whales. "We're focussing on the positives... we're doing all we can".

"Unfortunately, most of the whales beached themselves on dry land overnight and have not survived", he said earlier.

One of the six re-stranded itself and was euthanized, Western Australia's Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions said on Twitter.

Rescue team leader Jeremy Chick said the surviving whales are in shallow water.

Whales are considered the biggest animals on earth.

By noon all but 15 of the whales were dead, according to John Edwards, the senior marine operations officer for Parks and Wildlife West Australia. That year, 320 long-finned pilot whales beached themselves.

To make matters worse, windy and rainy weather has made the rescue challenging, he said.

Moreover, authorities had issued a shark alert. "The other animals end up beaching as well because they don't want to leave them".

Surf Life Saving WA have tweeted that a three-metre shark of unknown species has been spotted in the area.

Workers used heavy machinery to lift several whales off the sand, before carrying them to another part of the beach to release them. Most of the animals have died after beaching themselves but some remain alive.

Barrie Brickle, a tourist visiting the area, said: 'I think it's absolutely incredible, I've never seen seen so many whales beached like this'.

"[Volunteers] seem to drag them up onto the beach, get them the right way up and then they seem to revive", he said.

A pod of pilot whales have stranded on a remote beach on Australia's southwest coast, with nearly all of the estimated 150 mammals dying.

  • Joey Payne