Nearly 100 pilot whales have simultaneously stranded themselves on a beach in Australia, seemingly continuing the trend of sea creatures acting peculiar as of late.
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Most Of The Whales Swiftly Died
AP News reports that the situation unfolded on Tuesday near the southernmost point of Western Australia.
People immediately set out to try and rescue the marine mammals, though they soon found that 52 of the beached whales had died.
Politician Reece Whitby called the ordeal a “terrible tragedy.”
“What we’re seeing is utterly heartbreaking and distressing. It’s just a terrible, terrible tragedy to see these dead pilot whales on the beach.”
Whitby added, “People are committed to doing what they can to save as many whales as they can.”
On Wednesday, however, authorities with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions (DBCA) announced that they had opted to euthanize the remaining animals to “avoid prolonging their suffering.”
Other Recent Examples Of Marine Madness
This situation is similar to another incident involving 55 pilot whales that perished after beaching themselves on a Scottish island.
Responders found that 15 whales were still alive, though AP News notes that they only relaunched two into the ocean. Authorities euthanized the remaining whales—adults and calves— earlier this month.
According to the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, the situation may have resulted from the pod following a whale that was beaching itself while in distress.
“Pilot whales are notorious for their strong social bonds, so often when one whale gets into difficulty and strands, the rest follow. A sad outcome for this pod and obviously not the outcome we were all hoping for.”
Of course, we should also point out the recent reports about orcas (aka killer whales) attacking—and sometimes even sinking—boats. Specifically, vessels off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) have been having increased run-ins with the animals.
NPR notes that the encounters could be a sign of playful behavior or a response to trauma. The publication also cites Orca Behavior Institute director Monika Wieland Shields stating, “I definitely think orcas are capable of complex emotions like revenge.”