Group of nearly 100 whales gathered in a heart shape before tragedy

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By Nasima Khatun

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People were left shocked when a pod of almost 100 whales could be seen huddling together in the shape of a heart, shortly before a disaster took place.

In July last year, images shared by Parks and Wildlife Service of a pod of whales coming together on Cheynes Beach in South-West Australia baffled the masses.

The rare sight saw the marine mammals come together to unknowingly form a heart shape in the clear water.

At the time, beachgoers were told to keep their distance - that was until disaster struck.


The whales started slowly moving towards the shore and became stranded on the sand unable to get back to the water.

Reece Whitby, WA’s environment minister described the sight as "unique."

"Those images that we saw off the coast are unique," Whitby said.“It is pretty incredible from a scientific basis in terms of learning about strandings.

He continued: "Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions [staff], when they saw those images, contacted their colleagues around Australia; they were in touch with other jurisdictions that have mass strandings. The feedback we were getting was we have never seen this before."


The next morning, a rescue operation was deployed with DBCA officers and other volunteers offering a helping hand to aid the whales back to a safe place.

But it wasn't easy.

Approximately 50 of the pod were declared dead, with another 46 being helped towards the sea.

While they were being pushed into deeper waters, officials quickly realized that the whales kept breaching, which led to further deaths.


At the time DBCA environment officer Peter Harley said that they would try their best to help the rest of the animals that were still alive.

“What we will do this afternoon to try to guide the whales, is that we will be using vessels and we have some volunteers arriving with kayaks and we will gently coax them into the water and give them the best opportunity to survive,” Harley said before the whales were stranded a second time as per the Guardian.

“The worst-case scenario is that they turn around as they have done before and they head back to the beach and then we start all over again," he added.

GettyImages-1276413382.jpgCredit: Steve Bell/Getty

Volunteers worked long hours during the rescue mission with Kaysanne Knunckey telling the outlet that the task was extremely difficult.

“It was freezing and hard to stand still just holding the whales,” Knuckey said. “The atmosphere was fairly positive and everyone is just trying to think of the bright side. It is just so heartbreaking that so many have beached themselves.”

As for what caused the pod to strand themselves on the beach, Macquarie University wildlife scientist Dr Vanessa Pirotta said it remains a mystery.

“The fact they were in one area very huddled and doing really interesting behaviours and looking around at times suggests something else is going on that we just don’t know,” she said.

Featured Image Credit: Vincent Pommeyrol/Getty

Group of nearly 100 whales gathered in a heart shape before tragedy

vt-author-image

By Nasima Khatun

Article saved!Article saved!

People were left shocked when a pod of almost 100 whales could be seen huddling together in the shape of a heart, shortly before a disaster took place.

In July last year, images shared by Parks and Wildlife Service of a pod of whales coming together on Cheynes Beach in South-West Australia baffled the masses.

The rare sight saw the marine mammals come together to unknowingly form a heart shape in the clear water.

At the time, beachgoers were told to keep their distance - that was until disaster struck.


The whales started slowly moving towards the shore and became stranded on the sand unable to get back to the water.

Reece Whitby, WA’s environment minister described the sight as "unique."

"Those images that we saw off the coast are unique," Whitby said.“It is pretty incredible from a scientific basis in terms of learning about strandings.

He continued: "Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions [staff], when they saw those images, contacted their colleagues around Australia; they were in touch with other jurisdictions that have mass strandings. The feedback we were getting was we have never seen this before."


The next morning, a rescue operation was deployed with DBCA officers and other volunteers offering a helping hand to aid the whales back to a safe place.

But it wasn't easy.

Approximately 50 of the pod were declared dead, with another 46 being helped towards the sea.

While they were being pushed into deeper waters, officials quickly realized that the whales kept breaching, which led to further deaths.


At the time DBCA environment officer Peter Harley said that they would try their best to help the rest of the animals that were still alive.

“What we will do this afternoon to try to guide the whales, is that we will be using vessels and we have some volunteers arriving with kayaks and we will gently coax them into the water and give them the best opportunity to survive,” Harley said before the whales were stranded a second time as per the Guardian.

“The worst-case scenario is that they turn around as they have done before and they head back to the beach and then we start all over again," he added.

GettyImages-1276413382.jpgCredit: Steve Bell/Getty

Volunteers worked long hours during the rescue mission with Kaysanne Knunckey telling the outlet that the task was extremely difficult.

“It was freezing and hard to stand still just holding the whales,” Knuckey said. “The atmosphere was fairly positive and everyone is just trying to think of the bright side. It is just so heartbreaking that so many have beached themselves.”

As for what caused the pod to strand themselves on the beach, Macquarie University wildlife scientist Dr Vanessa Pirotta said it remains a mystery.

“The fact they were in one area very huddled and doing really interesting behaviours and looking around at times suggests something else is going on that we just don’t know,” she said.

Featured Image Credit: Vincent Pommeyrol/Getty