Marine experts will on Wednesday morning assess what to do about five sperm whales which have become beached on the Wadden Sea island of Texel.
It is extremely unusual for so many whales to be in Dutch waters, a spokesman for the Ecomare marine centre told local paper Noordhollands Dagblad.
Efforts to get the whales back into open water on Tuesday evening failed and rescuers finally withdrew from the beach at around midnight. Two are thought to have died, news agency ANP says.
According to the island’s newspaper, Texelse Courant, the whales have beached near Den Hoorn, the most southern part of the island.
The area of beach where the whales are has been closed to the public, to minimise the distress to the animals.
Whale expert Adrie Vonk told local broadcaster RTV Noord-Holland that he did not think the animals would survive. ‘They are breathing their last,’ he said. ‘It is dark, the tide is turning, they are being moved by the waves.’
The Netherlands has set up a special protocol to deal with beachings following the death of a hump backed whale which stranded on a sandback near Texel in 2012.
The protocol states that efforts to save the animals will stop after they have been beached for more than 12 hours.
Two dead sperm whales washed up in the German Wadden Sea island of Wangerooge on January 8. They are thought to have been dead for some time.
— Texelse Courant (@texelsecourant) January 12, 2016
— KNRM (@KNRM) January 12, 2016
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