150 whales beached in Australia, as rescuers fight to save them

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In 2009, more than 80 pilot whales and dolphins died in a mass stranding at Hamelin Bay on the same day - March 23.

Short-finned pilot whales, which can live in pods of 100 or more, are known to periodically beach in what scientists call mass strandings, though why they do so is unknown.

Leaarne Hollowood from Margaret River jumped out of bed to the scene when she heard about the whales on Friday morning.

To take those surviving whales back into the open sea rescuers used cranes and hammocks to carry them a kilometre down the beach and volunteers were seen in the water in an attempt to coax the animals back into the water, according to the ABC.

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

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More than 100 volunteers, wildlife personnel and veterinarians arrived at the beach, but rescuers said conditions there and the threat of sharks - enticed by thousands of pounds of flesh - were impeding their efforts.

The 145 carcasses were being removed and authorities were taking DNA samples to understand why the whales beached. "Bad weather will hinder rescue operations and we need to make sure that all team members are safe before moving the whales".

"It is possible the dead and dying animals will act as an attractant, which could lead to sharks coming close into shore along this stretch of coast", the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development said in a statement.

'Unfortunately, most of the whales beached themselves on dry land overnight and have not survived, ' Mr Chick said. "The other animals end up beaching as well because they don't want to leave them".

For instance, a series of unusual G. macrorhynchus stranding events coincided with a large-scale military exercise around Taiwan in 2004, the IUCN said. "Short-finned pilot whales are closely related to long-finned pilot whales, although they have shorter flippers with less of an elbow". The largest mass-stranding in western Australia occurred in 1996 when around 320 pilot whales beached in Dunsborough, north of Hamelin Bay.

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