HObart, Australia (AP) – A day after 230 whales were found stranded off the wild and remote west coast of Australia’s island state of Tasmania, only 35 were alive despite ongoing rescue efforts on Thursday.
The Tasmania Department of Natural Resources and Environment said half a pod of pilot whales trapped in Macquarie Harbor were believed to be still alive on Wednesday.
Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Services manager Brendan Clark said the pounding surf took a toll overnight.
“We tested the animals yesterday as part of the initial evaluation and we have identified the animals that had the best chance of survival for the approximately 230 people trapped. Today’s focus will be on the rescue and release operations.’
“We have found about 35 live animals on the beach … and this morning the primary focus will be on the rescue and release of those animals,” Clark said.
Whales hit the beach two years after the largest casualty in Australia’s history was discovered in the same port.
On September 21, 2020, around 470 long-finned pilot whales were found stranded on the sandbar. After a week of effort, 111 of those whales were rescued, but the rest died.
The entrance to the port is a notoriously shallow and dangerous channel known as Hell’s Gate.
Local salmon farmer Linton Kringle helped with the 2020 rescue effort and said the latest challenge would be more difficult.
“Last time they were actually in port and it’s quite quiet and we can deal with them there and we can take the boats to them,” Kringle said.
“But just on the beach, you can’t find a boat there—it’s too shallow, too rough. My thoughts would be trying to get them on a vehicle if we can’t get them out by swimming,” Kringle said. Told.
Vanessa Pirotta, a wildlife scientist specializing in marine mammals, said it was too early to tell why they were trapped.
“The fact that we’ve seen similar species, at the same time, in the same place, in the case of being trapped in the same place again may give some sort of indication that there may be some environment here,” said Pirotta. he said.
David Midson, general manager of West Coast Council Municipality, urged people to stay clear.
“The fact that we’ve seen similar species, at the same time, in the same place, in terms of being trapped in the same place again may give some sort of indication that there may be some environmental going on here.”
“The whale is a protected species, even once it is dead, and interfering with the carcass is a crime,” the Department of the Environment said.
Fourteen sperm whales were discovered on Monday afternoon on King Island, part of the state of Tasmania, in the Bass Strait between Melbourne and Tasmania’s northern coast.
Griffith University marine scientist Olaf Menecke said it is unusual for sperm whales to wash ashore. He said warmer temperatures could also alter ocean currents and shift the traditional feeding of whales.
“They will go to different areas and search for different food sources,” Meneke said. “When they do, they’re not in the best physical condition because they’ll be starving, so it could put them at greater risk and perhaps move them closer to shore.”
The pilot whale is notorious for being largely stranded, for reasons that are not fully understood.