SYDNEY - SIX whales that got stranded in southwest Australia just a day after being rescued from another beach have died, a conservation official said Thursday. Veterinarians shot three of them, while the others died naturally.
The six long-finned pilot whales that died on Wednesday were part of a pod of 10 that rescuers guided back out to sea on Tuesday.
But less than a day later, surveillance aircraft spotted the six on a beach about four miles (six kilometres) away from where they had been released. Two were already dead and one died while environment officials and veterinarians were on the way to the area.
Veterinarians shot the remaining three surviving animals because they were in such poor condition. The whales were too large for lethal injections.
'It's obviously disappointing,' Western Australia state conservation department officer Aminya Ennis said. 'But we understand that (the whales getting stranded again) was always a possibility.' The other four whales from the pod of 10 are believed to be still at sea. The department would continue to monitor the coast and the ocean to verify their safety.
The whales were part of a group of about 90 whales and five bottlenose dolphins that became stranded on a beach in Western Australia state early Monday.
Most of the animals died, but rescuers were able to push four dolphins and four whales out to sea at the stranding site and truck 10 surviving whales overland to deeper waters Tuesday. -- AP
[So how come whales don't beach on Japanese shores? Or maybe they do... but the evidence gets eaten.]