Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cost Cutting

Monday, March 23, 2009

80 whales and dolphins beached in Australia

About 80 whales and dolphins were stranded Monday on a remote beach in southwestern Australia. Authorities plan to truck the few survivors to a protected bay before attempting to put them back to sea.

Volunteers and government officers struggled to save 17 long-finned pilot whales that were being battered by rough seas in Hamelin Bay in Western Australia state, the state Conservation Department said in a statement.

It was the latest mass beaching of whales in Australia. Strandings happen periodically in Tasmania, in the southeast, as whales pass during their migration to and from Antarctic waters, but scientists do not know why. It is unusual, however, for whales and dolphins to become beached together.

The department said the group of whales and bottlenose dolphins became stranded early Monday on a stretch of beach about 4 miles (6 kilometers) long.

Department spokesman Greg Mair said the 17 survivors, all whales, will be shifted by truck at daybreak Tuesday to nearby Flinders Bay and helped out to sea.

"This method has been chosen to ensure the whales' greatest chance of survival," Mair said in the statement. "Flinders Bay provides sheltered waters and is far enough away from the stranding site to reduce the risk of the whales re-stranding."

Department officers originally thought the mammals were false killer whales, but on closer inspection said they were long-finned pilot whales.