Australian wildlife experts rescued 32 of the 230 pilot whales found on the coast of Tasmania the day before during a mysterious mass stranding.
The group of whales was stranded on Ocean Beach in Macquarie Harbor on Wednesday, with at least half of the whales still alive at the time, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania said.
on Thursday morning, sea rescue teams found that only 35 of the whales survived the nightsaid Brendon Clark, the manager of Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service.
“Of the 35 that were still alive this morning, we managed to float, rescue and release 32 of those animals, so that’s a great result,” Clark told reporters in nearby Strahan late Thursday. .
“We have three more alive at the far north of Ocean Beach, but due to access restrictions, mainly tidal influences, we have not been able to safely access those three animals today. But tomorrow morning they will be our priority,” Clark added.
The mass stranding is coming exactly two years to the day after about 470 long-finned pilot whales were found trapped on sandbanks in the same harbor, which has a notoriously shallow and dangerous channel known as Hell’s Gate. After a week’s effort, 111 of those whales were rescued, but the rest died.
It’s coming too two days after the carcasses of 14 youngmale sperm whales were found on King Island, part of the state of Tasmania in the Bass Strait between Melbourne and the north coast of Tasmania.
Marine wildlife experts say it’s too early to say why the stranding occurred.
“These mass strandings are usually the result of accidentally coming to shore, for a variety of reasons,” said Marine Conservation Program biologist Kris Carlyon.
Carlyon said the dead whales would be tested to see if there were any toxins in their systems that could explain the tragedy.
The pilot whale often travels in groups and is known for stranding en masse, for reasons as yet unclear, according to the NOAA Fisheries.