Australia: 380 stranded whales have died, rescuers say

Четверг, 24 Сен, 2020

Dr Carlyon said the stranding was definitely the biggest in Tasmania and likely the largest on record in Australia.

Almost 500 pilot whales have been found stranded on an Australian shore on Wednesday, the most significant mass stranding ever recorded in the nation.

Around 380 whales have died after becoming stranded in an inlet off the coast of the Australian island of Tasmania, according to officials.

A parks official says another 200 stranded whales were spotted from the air on Wednesday south of the first group.

About 270 pilot whales were found Monday, sparking a major effort to free the giant mammals from a sandbar only accessible by boat.

"Whenever they are still alive and still in water there is certainly hope for them, but as time goes on, they do become more worn out and their chance of survival reduces", Deka said.

"The aerial recon we put up this morning to do the infrared survey found around another 200 in a couple of bays, probably seven to 10 kilometres away from the stranding we've been working with", Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Services regional manager Nic Deka said.

"As time goes on (the whales) do become more tired so their chances of survival reduces", Deka said. At this stage, the animals that are still alive we think we do have a chance with those given that they're wet.

A group of 60 conservationists, experts and fishermen are now fighting to save the remaining whales, with rescuers braving cold waters to reach the animals. Each rescue attempt requires around five people, who have to pull the animals out of sandbanks with slings and guide them to deeper water, Reuters reported.

Ms Pirotta added that the whales' "very strong social system" was the reason for the high number of beached animals.

Mr Deka said the rescue mission which began yesterday will continue today.

And even when a whale is freed, its fate remains in jeopardy. It is suspected they were part of the same pod. He told The Guardian that two methods are under consideration: burying them in a landfill or towing them into open water. "We've tried to release them, they haven't done well", he said. "We are committed to retrieving and disposing", he said.

The coastline near Macquarie Harbor, near the town of Strahan, Tasmania, is a known whale-stranding hotspot.

"We're not at a point where we're considering euthanasia. but it is always something that we have at the back of our mind", said Kris Carlyon, a wildlife biologist with the state government conservation agency.

The world's largest recorded mass stranding occurred in the New Zealand territory of the Chatham Islands in 1918, Reuters reports, when 1,000 whales were stuck.

"You might have one or two compromised individuals in that whole group that do have an injury, or a debilitation, or a disease that's caused some kind of navigational failure", she said. On Wednesday, rescue groups will likewise be doing a more substantial search and carrying out an infrared study to evaluate the enduring whales' condition.