About 150 Dying Whales Wash Ashore in Western Australia

At least 135 whales have died at Hamelin Bay and the 15 surviving animals are being monitored by wildlife experts

Six of the survivors were returned to sea late in the afternoon.

The surviving whales were later placed in shallow water but it was hard to move them further out as they were surrounding by the dead whales, and because of the beach's rocky terrain and rough seas.

He said, "The main objectives are to ensure the safety of staff and volunteers as well as the whales' greatest chance of survival".

Hamelin beach, named after French explorer Jacques Felix Emmanuel Hamelin who sailed through the area in about 1801, was closed with a shark alert issued for the area.

Environmental groups have also argued that sonar - used to map the ocean floor or for military purposes - can trigger mass strandings in dolphins and whales, who can be sensitive to underwater noises.

Rescuers said the scene on the beach was distressing, ABC AU reported.

United Kingdom visitor Barrie Brickle said the scene on the beach earlier on Friday was distressing, as the whales repeatedly beached themselves after being pushed back to sea.

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A sixth whale was freed into shallow waters on Friday but it beached again and had to be euthanized.

Locals and tourists were being warned to stay out of the water due to a likely increase in sharks attracted by the dead whales.

Further complicating the whales' odds is that recently rescued whales tend to beach themselves a second time.

It is the second biggest beaching incident in WA's history, with 147 of them confirmed dead. "Short-finned pilot whales are closely related to long-finned pilot whales, although they have shorter flippers with less of an elbow. There is simply not enough information known about their remaining wild populations", Captain Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said in 2015 after a pilot whale by hunters in Taiji's infamous cove.

The reason behind the stranding is now unclear.

The 145 carcasses were being removed and authorities were taking DNA samples to understand why the whales beached.

The whales were stranded on Hamelin Bay beach, near Augusta on Australia's western coast.

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