THE WEST AUSTRALIAN Western Australia 16th January 2003
A RARE Gray's beaked whale, believed to be from a pod rescued earlier this week at Geographe Bay, was today found washed ashore dead.
It is the second dead adult Gray's beaked whale found in as many days following the rescue of the pod of six on Tuesday.
The pod was sent back to the ocean after more than 500 people helped rescue them from shallow water near Mandalay Caravan Park, near Busselton, 230 km south of Perth.
However a five metre adult female from the rescued pod was found dead yesterday at Eagle Bay, near Cape Naturaliste, 40 km south from where it was first stranded.
Another adult Gray's beaked whale, four metres long, was found today on Yallingup Beach, 264 km south of Perth, at first light.
Neil Taylor from the Department of Conservation and Land Management said he was 99 per cent sure the second marine mammal was also from the rescued pod.
"The chances of it being an animal, other than one we've dealt with in the last two days, is really remote, it's most likely to be one of the group," Mr Taylor said.
Mr Taylor said he, along with the rescuers, was disappointed about the deaths.
"But we did everything with our current knowledge to get these animals up and running again," he said.
"Unfortunately, we've been unsuccessful with two out of the six."
Tourists and residents rallied to save the rare creatures after they were discovered stranded in metre deep water early on Tuesday.
Five of the whales were adults up to five metres long, one a juvenile.
Mr Taylor said he hoped the whales' autopsies would help solve the puzzle of why whales became stranded in shallow waters or beached themselves.