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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
16 February 2005
The beaked whale that stranded itself on Western Australia's Busselton coast yesterday has been successfully returned to open water.
"I am delighted that the whale has been released and congratulate everyone involved in this phenomenal rescue effort," the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.
A rescue team from WA's Conservation and Land Management Authority worked throughout Tuesday to transfer the 4.6 metre long adolescent whale into deep water and were rewarded when the whale swam away.
"The Australian Government is already funding the establishment of a national whale strandings database and now we are working towards the development of a marine mammal strandings network," he said.
"The Australian Government is also working towards developing a national standard for the collection of scientific samples to assist in research into the causes of marine mammal strandings."
Senator Campbell said Aristotle had been perplexed by this mystery as far back 350BC.
"It is not known why they sometimes run aground on the seashore, for it is asserted that this happens rather frequently when the fancy takes them and without any apparent reason."
The Australian, 1 Dec 04
The whale was identified as a Cuvier's beaked whale, which can grow to around 7.6 metres and weigh up to 3 tonnes. The whales usually live in small groups of two to seven but it is not uncommon for them to be seen alone.
Senator Campbell's office: Renae Stoikos on 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434