03 June 2005

Autopsy finds stranded whale was sick

An autopsy of the whale which died during yesterday's big rescue attempt at Busselton, south of Perth, has revealed the whale was ill.

The whale was a member of the pod of about 100 false killer whales which became stranded at two locations at Geographe Bay yesterday.

All but one were shepherded back to sea.

The Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) says the dead whale had an unusually high number of gut parasites and abdominal bruising.

Wildlife officer Warwick Roe says the autopsy results indicate it is possible the sick animal was the reason for the pod's stranding.

"It's a fairly well generally accepted possibility amongst the social whales, the ones that live in these large pods," he said.

"It's been sort of shown that a number of times where you've had animals come in in big numbers there's usually a sick one or three or whatever amongst them which is perhaps the reason why they've come." in.

Source: www.abc.net.au


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