Rescuers race to refloat surviving whales from Tasmania stranding | News

Rescuers successfully updated and released 32 whales into deep water outside Port Macquarie on Thursday.

Australian rescuers battled to free the last surviving pilot whales from a mass stranding that nearly killed them. 200 animals on the beach in remote western Tasmania.

Fewer than 10 of the black mammals were still alive Friday on Ocean Beach, north of Port Macquarie, the state’s wildlife services said.

Rescuers were successful and released 32 pilot whales into deep water outside Port Macquarie on Thursday, although some were stranded on the beach overnight, the Parks and Animals Administration said. Wild Tasmania said in a statement on Friday.

“The aim is to reactivate and release the remaining whales alive today,” said the service, adding that rainy and cold conditions on the beach helped “keep the animals alive.” comfortable”.

“Once the rescue phase is complete, the team will focus on relocating and disposing of the approximately 200 dead whales,” the service said.

Under a drizzle on Friday, marine wildlife experts began easing a multi-day rescue operation that began after a large school of pilot whales ran aground on a beach on Wednesday.

Brendon Clark, incident control with Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Servicesaid the three whales had yet to be approached because of their remote location and difficult tidal conditions.

“The priority remains to rescue and release those remaining animals and any others that we identify as stranded,” he said.

Wildlife officers used a forklift to tow the dead whales to a collection point on the beach. Animals will be discarded at sea. Left in shallow water or on the beach, fish carcasses can attract sharks and can also carry disease.

Tasmania's wildlife service officer prepares to retrieve the carcass of a pilot whale, numbering nearly 200, found washed up on Tasmania's west coast [Glenn Nicholls/AFP]
Tasmania’s wildlife service officer prepares to retrieve the carcass of a pilot whale, numbering nearly 200, found washed up on Tasmania’s west coast [Glenn Nicholls/AFP]

Depha Miedecke, general manager strategy for Tasmanian aquaculture company Petuna Aquearch, told AFP: “It’s incredibly sad to see these beautiful, intelligent animals on land where they don’t exist.

“We’re going to look at it from start to finish to get rid of the whales that didn’t do it,” she said.

Two years ago, Port Macquarie was the scene of the country’s largest ever mass stranding, involving some 470 longfin pilot whales found stranded on the sand.

After a week-long effort, 111 of those whales were rescued but the rest died despite the efforts of dozens of volunteers who toiled for days in Tasmania’s freezing waters to free them. escape them.

The entrance to the harbor is a famously shallow and treacherous canal known as Hell’s Gate.

Scientists still don’t fully understand why mass stranding occurs. Some argue that the pods will deviate after feeding too close to shore.

Pilot whales – which can grow to more than six meters (20 feet) long – are also very sociable, so they can follow stray mates into danger.

Others believe that gently sloping beaches like those found in Tasmania confuse the whales’ sonar, making them think they are in open water.

The latest stranding comes days after a dozen young male sperm whales were reported dead in a Isolated mass stranding on King Island – between Tasmania and mainland Australia.

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