Most of over 150 stranded whales die on beach in Australia

Only six whales have survived a mass stranding of pilot whales on the coast of Western Australia

Only six whales have survived a mass stranding of pilot whales on the coast of Western Australia

More than 140 short-finned pilot whales died after a mass stranding on a beach in Western Australia on Friday.

Rescuers were rushing to save 15 survivors, with local volunteers and vets attempting to keep them alive while they waited for a suitable time to help them back out to sea.

Nearly all of the mammals - short-finned pilot whales weighing between 1-4 tonnes - have now died, with six survivors helped back out to sea late in the afternoon.

Chick said moving the surviving whales was hard logistically due to the rocky beach terrain, the location of dead whales surrounding the live whales and rough seas.

'Rescue operations will be hampered by deteriorating weather conditions and we need to ensure the safety of everyone involved before we move the whales'.

Tourists were shocked at the sight.

As of Friday afternoon, only 15 whales were alive. Almost half of whales have died, according to authorities in Western Australia.

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Authorities have also issued a shark warning.

So far, the remaining six whales appear to have survived although incident controller Jeremy Chick said they could attempt to beach themselves at another location. Within hours, a 10-foot shark had been seen swimming in the bay.

Short-fin pilot whales inhabit tropical and subtropical waters and move in pods of around 100.

In 2009, more than 80 whales and dolphins died on a beach in Hamelin Bay.

Whales regularly beach themselves while migrating between feeding grounds in Antarctica and warmer northern waters where they raise their calves, but it is striking to see such a large number stranded at once.

This handout taken and released on Mar 23, 2018 shows short-finned pilot whales beached en masse in Hamelin Bay, Western Australia.

Other mass-stranding events involving this species happened during times of high human-made noise in their environment, such as one incident around Taiwan in 2004 that coincided with a large-scale military exercise.

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