Four pods of up to 160 stranded whales in Western Australia became stranded early  Thursday morning at Toby Inlet in Geographe Bay, close to Dunsborough. The pods scattered out across an area of around 500 meters (0.31 miles). The area is popular with tourists and is about 236 kilometers south of Perth, the state capital.

stranded whales in Western Australia

Stranded whales in Western Australia. Picture: Department of Biodiversity, Conservation, and Attractions via AP

Footage from the area shows the local government, animal preservation teams, and many volunteers helping stranded whales in Western Australia return to deeper waters. There were reports of 26–31 deaths and more than 100 beached pilot whales returning to the water. 

stranded whales in Western Australia

Stranded whales in Western Australia were kept alive in part by human effort. Pic: Busselton and Dunsborough Wildlife Care, courtesy of Reuters

Last July, almost fifty pilot whales died after getting stuck on a remote beach in Western Australia. The biggest pilot whale stranding in the state occurred in Dunsborough in 1996 when 320 of them beached themselves. Just twenty animals were saved and led back into deeper waters out of all of them. In July 2023, at Cheynes Beach in Albany, Western Australia, there was a huge stranding event that claimed the lives of at least ninety of the critters. Five hundred pilot whales died in 2022 when they washed up on the remote Chatham Islands in New Zealand.

After a whale has completely beached, the government claims, euthanasia is usually the “most humane outcome. “Pilot whales, which can reach a maximum length of 20 feet, are closely bonded social animals that may pursue pod mates who wander into danger.