Rescued whales beach themselves again in Australia
Veterinarians being sent to euthanize animals
Six whales rescued after a mass beaching in southwestern Australia have again stranded themselves in the sand, government officials said Wednesday.
Two of the long-finned pilot whales have died while four others are deteriorating rapidly, said officials with the Western Australia state Conservation Department.
Veterinarians were being sent to the beach, about six kilometres from where the animals were released, to euthanize the whales.
Eleven whales were rescued after a mass stranding of more than 87 whales and five dolphins in Hamelin Bay on Monday.
The mammals were trucked overland to Flinders Bay, 20 kilometres away, to be released Tuesday morning.
Though some of the whales swam away, two lagged behind and one was redirected toward shore for monitoring.
'It's very disappointing'
"We believe [the beached whales] are part of the rescued group from yesterday, so it's very disappointing," said John Carter, operations officers with the Conservation Department.
Carter said officials will be comparing photos and measurements to confirm they are the same whales.
Officials believe other whales from the original group have returned to the sea safely.
"At this stage we're assuming they are OK but we'll be monitoring the coast and the waters over the next few days," Carter said.
This week's beaching is the fifth mass stranding in Australia since November. About 520 whales have beached in Tasmania and Western Australia, and more than 470 have died.
With files from the Associated Press