A whale which appeared to have been beached has been surrounded by swimmers and repeatedly poked and touched.
Drone video footage showed the large whale swimming in shallow water close to Port Beach in Perth, Australia, on Saturday.
Eyewitnesses were concerned that the whale might be sick or injured, as it’s very unusual for the sea mammals to come so close to the beach.
But some people seemed less bothered about the health of the animal, with around a dozen people swimming up to the whale, swarming it and repeatedly poking and touching it.
Thankfully, the whale swam into deeper water after spending time in the shallows for around one hour, local media reports.
But it’s very unusual for whales to be seen in such shallow water – and sadly thousands of the mammals die on beaches across the globe every year after getting beached.
Live whales often come to shore alone because they’re old, sick, injured, or disorientated, according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation group.
Dead whales could wash ashore after dying of natural causes, or due to human interference such as suffocating in nets or collisions with boats.
If live or recently dead whales of the same species come ashore in a group, it’s usually because they are part of a tight social group and the leader group either made a navigational mistake or became sick or wounded and led the rest of the pod to shore.
This most commonly happens to pilot whales, which swim in tight family groups.
Whales are more likely to beach on some types of coastline than others. Shallow, sloping shores made of soft sediment can confuse the ‘echolocation’ they use to navigate.
This incident happened in Australia, but whales, dolphins and porpoises can wash up on UK shores too. Earlier this year two whales washed up on Porth Neigwl beach in the space of two days.
You can find details of who to contact if you come across a beached sea creature here.
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