Hamelin Bay whale stranding update – 4pm

Preparations are underway to move the seven-surviving short-finned pilot whales into deeper water by nightfall.

The seven whales are the only ones still alive following a mass stranding of 150 whales early this morning at Hamelin Bay near Augusta.

Parks and Wildlife Service Incident Controller Jeremy Chick said moving the surviving whales was proving to be logistically difficult due to the rocky beach terrain, the location of dead whales surrounding the live whales and rough seas.

“We plan to move the seven surviving whales out to deeper water with the use of boats,” he said.

“The conditions are challenging but we are doing all we can to give these animals the best chance of survival without risking the safety of staff and volunteers.

“Once we have moved the whales out we will monitor the situation closely as it is possible the whales will come back into shore and re-strand. This has often been the case in previous mass strandings.

“We ask anyone that sees a stranded whale to report it to the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.”

Parks and Wildlife Service staff are being assisted by vets, Sea Search and Rescue, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and more than 100 volunteers, who have been involved in the rescue.   

Mr Chick said the department appreciated the support from volunteers and other agencies involved.

The department is working with the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River to remove the deceased whales from the beach. Parks and Wildlife Service officers are taking DNA samples from the deceased whales to try and determine possible clues for why whales strand.

Hamelin Beach remains closed from Hamelin Caravan Park to North Point including Grace Road and Reserve Road. DPIRD has issued a shark alert for the area.