Ninety false killer whales (which are smaller than the killer whale species) were found beached at high tide on January 18 on a remote stretch of coastline 280 kilometres (180 miles) east of Melbourne.
1. GV Beached whales and swimmers trying to turn them out to sea. 0.14
2. SV, GV People trying to rescue whales in shallow water. (3 SHOTS) 0.30
3. GV, SV People with whales in sea. (2 SHOTS) 0.37
4. SCU Wildlife official speaking. (SOT) 0.42
5. GV, SV People trying to help whales on beach and in water, CU whale blow hole. (3 SHOTS) (SOT) 0.58
6. GV Boy pushing whale out to sea, whale on beach, groups people on beach helping whales. (3 SHOTS) 1.09
WILDLIFE EXPERT: (UNNAMED) (SEQ 4) "They are extremely social animals, in other words they tend to congregate in a group."
WILDLIFE EXPERT: (SEQ 5) "Usually there's a leader in the group. If you get the leader back out first obviously they'll follow but it's a matter of getting all of them out together or as closely as possible."
INTERVIEWER: "And obviously you don't have the number of people to do that."
NOTE TO EDITORS: THIS STORY HAS COMMENTARY BY HSV7 REPORTER NICK MCCULLAN, WHICH MAY BE USED IF REQUIRED.
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Background: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
Ninety false killer whales (which are smaller than the killer whale species) were found beached at high tide on January 18 on a remote stretch of coastline 280 kilometres (180 miles) east of Melbourne. Sixty of them are believed to have drowned in shallow water or died as they lay on the beach. On January 19 a rescue operation was launched to save the 30 survivors. Dozens of campers from a nearby resort joined in desperate attempts to drag the whales back out to sea or revive those stuck on the beach with buckets of seawater. Whale experts said they believed the problem has started when an injured whale sought shelter in the shallows and the remainder of the herd had tried to follow and ran into trouble in the heavy seas. A wildlife expert said Whales, which are known to travel together are difficult to rescue unless the leader is immediately taken back out to sea and the others persuaded to follow. The rescue operation was expected to take another two or three days and later volunteers from the Whale Rescue Centre flew in from Melbourne to help.