More than 70 whales die in mass stranding

March 23, 2009 at 10:26 PM
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PERTH, Australia, March 23 (UPI) -- More than 70 whales have died after stranding early Monday on an Australian beach, officials said.

Eleven other whales survived the mass stranding at Hamelin Bay, south of Perth, and will be transported to relocation waters, The Advertiser reported Monday.

Department of Environment and Conservation operations officer John Carter said the long-finned pilot whales were consolidated into one pod at a safe holding area overnight, the newspaper reported.

"All surviving whales were shifted to the shore of the boat ramp area in Hamelin Bay, where they were covered and kept moist through the night in preparation for today's relocation to safer waters," Carter was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

DEC Incident Controller Greg Mair said officials were working with the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River to identify possible burial sites for the dead whales, reported.

He said researchers were collecting samples from the dead whales for testing.

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