Flashback to 2009: Hamelin Bay relives whale beachings
For many locals, Friday’s mass stranding of whales in Hamelin Bay held an eerie connection to the area’s last major whale beaching event.
On March 23 2009 more than 80 whales and dolphins beached themselves over 6 kilometres of coastline at Hamelin Bay, echoing the incident this week that saw more than 150 whales stranded on the same shoreline.
In 2009, eleven surviving whales were able to be released into Flinders Bay after being rescued, and while Department of Parks and Wildlife officials are hopeful of a positive outcome, the survival of the current stranded pod remains in doubt.
Of the 84 beached in 2009, around 58 were discovered dead and 14 died overnight despite frantic rescue attempts by local volunteers and officials.
Between 1984 and 2005 there were 21 mass strandings of whales and dolphins along the coast of WA, mostly between Busselton and Augusta.
In April 2005, 19 long-finned pilot whales were stranded in Busselton, followed by 123 false killer whales stranded in the same area in June 2005.
In 1986 a rescue of false killer whales in Augusta made world news when of 114 whales, 96 survived and were returned safely back into the ocean.
DPAW officials remain onsite at today’s beaching, where earthmoving equipment is being brought in to the region to assist with the removal of the deceased whales.