80 whales and dolphins beach themselves

Posted by Harvest Dream on Thursday, March 26. 2009 in Ecology, Radiation

Bird populations are crashing, bees are disappearing, bats are dropping dead by the millions, frogs can hardly be found and those that are found are often deformed. Trees are strained and weakened succumbing to disease and insects and deer are found dead with decomposed brain tissue. These mass 'strandings' of ocean mammals are in fact self induced beachings, these animals are so distressed, likely due to navy sonar, that they are committing mass suicide rather than endure the intense pain and internal disruptions, yet the scientists don't know why..... Can you see where all of this is heading? Can you really see where this is going?

Source: Herald Tribune

Eleven whales still alive after a mass stranding on a remote southwest Australian beach will be transported overland to deeper water on Tuesday, officials said.

Volunteers and government employees worked overnight to stabilize the survivors after about 80 long-finned pilot whales and a few bottlenose dolphins beached themselves in Hamelin Bay in Western Australia state.

Department of Environment and Conservation operations officer John Carter said the whales, which had initially been spread over a wide swath of beach, were moved into one pod in a safe holding area, where they were kept wet overnight by about 70 people.

"DEC staff and volunteers showed great perseverance and teamwork in ensuring these whales have the best possible chance of survival," Carter said.

The whales, which measure up to 20 feet (6 meters) long and weigh up to 3.5 tons, will be lifted in slings later Tuesday and individually trucked overland to deeper, more protected water in nearby Flinders Bay and helped out to sea.

The plan was chosen to ensure the whales' best chance of survival, said department spokesman Greg Mair in a statement Monday.

"Flinders Bay provides sheltered waters and is far enough away from the stranding site to reduce the risk of the whales re-stranding," he said.

The early Monday stranding was the latest mass beaching of whales in Australia. Strandings happen periodically in Tasmania, in the southeast, as whales pass during their migration to and from Antarctic waters, but scientists do not know why. It is unusual, however, for whales and dolphins to become beached together.

Department staff and scientists took measurements and DNA samples from the dead whales and dolphins to allow scientists to assess the genetic information and population structure of the pod. The dead whales will be transported to a nearby waste disposal area.

Earlier this month, 194 pilot whales and seven dolphins became stranded on a sandbar in Tasmania and only 54 whales and five dolphins were able to be saved. In January, 45 sperm whales died after becoming beached on a different Tasmanian sandbar.

Last November, 150 long-finned pilot whales died after beaching on a rocky coastline one week after a pod of 60 also came ashore on the island state. Only 11 were rescued.

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