Some of the whales that beached in Australia may surviveMarch 24th, 2009 - 12:52 pm ICT by IANS
Sydney, March 24 (DPA) The 11 surviving whales from a pod of 80 that came ashore on Australia’s west coast were being loaded Tuesday onto trucks at Hamelin Bay to be taken for release at a better spot 20 kilometres away.
Seven of the 11 whales, including a mother and calf, have completed the journey and are at Flinders Bay in a holding pen. The plan is to gather the long-finned pilot whales and release them into the Indian Ocean at sunset.
Flinders Bay was picked because it is deep, sheltered and far enough from the original stranding site to deter the whales from coming back on shore.
Margaret River schoolchildren are among the 200 volunteers keeping the whales wet so they don’t dehydrate and die. Some stayed up all night to help in the rescue efforts.
Individual whales, each up to six metres long and weighing up to 3.5 tonnes, require being hoisted in a sling onto a truck.
“We’ve been really happy with how the whales are being transported,” said Department of Environment and Conservation officer Laura Sinclair. “They are really calm, they are not thrashing, which was a concern.”
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Tags: conservation officer, dehydrate, department of environment, department of environment and conservation, environment and conservation, hamelin bay, holding pen, indian ocean, kilometres, long finned pilot whales, margaret river, mother and calf, pilot whales, rescue efforts, schoolchildren, sling, sydney march, tonnes, volunteers, west coast