Puzzle remains over Australia's mass strandings of whales

Australian authorities dispose of the bodies of over 140 short-finned pilot whales that stranded themselves on a beach in Western Australia.
A passing fisherman found the whales beached en masse at Hamelin Bay, Western Australia, on March 23. So far, 131 whale carcasses have been removed amid fears that they would attract sharks.
A passing fisherman found the whales beached en masse at Hamelin Bay, Western Australia, on March 23. So far, 131 whale carcasses have been removed amid fears that they would attract sharks.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Rescue workers and volunteers struggling to save stranded whales at Hamelin Bay on March 23, 2009 - exactly nine years before last month's stranding. Scientists say there is no single explanation for the mass strandings.
Rescue workers and volunteers struggling to save stranded whales at Hamelin Bay on March 23, 2009 - exactly nine years before last month's stranding. Scientists say there is no single explanation for the mass strandings.

Shallow bay, mammals' social nature among reasons cited

On a tranquil beach on Australia's west coast, an awful and perplexing disaster has unfolded in recent weeks as more than 100 whales washed up in the shallow waters and died.

So far, 131 whale carcasses have been removed from Hamelin Bay, about 300km south of Perth, since the mass stranding was first spotted by a passing fisherman just after sunrise on March 23.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2018, with the headline 'Puzzle remains over Australia's mass strandings of whales'. Print Edition | Subscribe