More than one-hundred pilot whales have beached themselves along the southern Australian coast--the second apparent mass suicide by a group of the large mammals on Australian beaches in four months.
AV Whales stranded on tidal flats of Flinders Island in Bass Strait, Australia (2 shots)
GV People looking at beached whales (2 shots)
GV Reporter Tom Worland crouched beside whale
GV Whales lying in low water, and on sand (3 shots)
GV Whale with newborn calf
TRANSCRIPT: WORLAND: "The 117 pilot whales beached themselves on tidal flats and along several kilometres of beach at Patriarch Inlet on the isolated northwest coast of Flinders Island in Bass Strait. As the tide ran out the whales floundered and prepared to perish. They were found at the weekend by several trailbike riders. It's believed the suicide ritual started late Friday night. By today, a public holiday on the Island, the squelching hulks had become the latest attraction for residents.
"This whale has beached itself some several hundred metres from the sea. There's no hope of it getting back. Incredibly, someone has attempted to slash its neck. Whether that's a humane act or not I don't know but this chappie is still alive.
"The whales varied in size from metre long young to 12 metre long adults. Some of the whales gave birth in an apparent death desire to save the species. Attempts were made to put the young back into "the sea, but they immediately beached themselves and died by their mothers."
REPORTER: TOM WORLAND
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: More than one-hundred pilot whales have beached themselves along the southern Australian coast--the second apparent mass suicide by a group of the large mammals on Australian beaches in four months. The whales went ashore on Flinders Island in Bass Strait probably on Friday (31 October) and attempts by animal lovers to save them have failed. The suicide phenomenon has mystified experts, but some believe the mass beachings are the result of a malfunction in the whales sonar systems. This report from GTV 9's Tom Worland.