ABOVE: Volunteers desperately try to rescue a pod of whales stranded in a Western Australia harbour
Volunteers attempted to save a group of long-finned pilot whales stranded in a harbour in Western Australia on Monday, but 12 of the animals died.
The pod stranded against a breakwater wall in Bunbury Harbour, south of Perth, local media reported.
Volunteers managed to herd only four of the whales to deeper waters, according to local media.
Department of Parks and Wildlife nature conservation leader Kim Williams told the West Australian that the four remaining whales were pulled out to sea using a sling and boats.
“Unfortunately, one of these whales has re-stranded and is being taken out to deeper water again, while the other three are not swimming strongly and there is a chance they will also re-strand,“ Williams said.
In a press release from the Department of Parks and Wildlife, a department spokesperson said their agency had been working closely with the Bunbury Port Authority, Department of Fisheries, Murdoch University, Dolphin Discovery Centre volunteers and staff, community volunteers and a local veterinarian.
It was not immediately clear why the whales got trapped in the breakwater wall.
“There is another pod of 15 long-finned pilot whales that has been swimming in the area all day, and we are hoping the whales we released this afternoon will join them,” Williams said.
“We will continue our efforts to rescue the animals until nightfall, when it is no longer safe to do so, and we will re-assess the situation in the morning.”
-With files from the Associated Press