13 pilot whales returning to sea, off Western Australia

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Monday, April 4, 2005

Pilot whale. Western Australian State Government Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) officers fear that the whales could becomes stranded again.

Rescuers were today sending a pod of 13 pilot whales back into the ocean at Geographe Bay, near to Busselton, south of Perth, in Western Australia. Six additional members of the pod had died during the stranding, including at least one calf. More than 300 people were watching as the whales set out to sea following a 30 hour rescue effort.

The whales had become stranded early yesterday. Several power boats and a spotter plane were escorting the surviving whales towards Cape Naturalist, in an operation expected to take several hours.

Western Australian State Government Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) officers feared that the whales could become stranded again.

One CALM officer, Neil Taylor, told ABC News dozens of his colleagues and community volunteers had helped the whales survive throughout the night.

"The vet has checked them all and given them some antibiotics yesterday, last thing before dark," he had told the Australian national broadcaster.

"I think the plan is that the vet will be there again [today] and will give them some vitamins to kick them along before they actually take their swim out to sea."

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