Just 15 short-finned pilot whales are still alive following a mass beaching at Hamelin Bay earlier today.
Around 150 whales were reported at the site, but most of them have since died.
A commercial fisherman first reported the whales just after 6 o'clock this morning and a rescue operation is taking place by authorities to save some of them.
Parks and Wildlife Service staff with veterinary assistance and support of Sea Search and Rescue, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and trained volunteers are working to ensure the welfare of the surviving whales.
Officers are taking DNA samples from the deceased whales to try and determine possible clues for why whales strand.
“Unfortunately, most of the whales beached themselves on dry land overnight and have not survived. There are only 15 surviving in shallow waters and we hope to move them out to sea later today. Rescue operations will be hampered by deteriorating, weather conditions and we need to ensure the safety of everyone involved before we move the whales.”
- Incident Controller Jeremy Chick
The carcasses are approximately 1km from the Hamelin Bay boat ramp.
A shark alert has been issued as it is possible the dead and dying animals will act as an attractant, which could lead to sharks coming close in to shore along this stretch of coast.
According to the Deparment of Parks and Wildlife, the largest mass beaching in WA was 320 long-finned pilot whales in Dunsborough.
Hamelin Beach is closed from Hamelin Caravan Park to North Point including Grace Road and Reserve Road.