Sydney, Australia, Sep 20 (EFE).- At least 14 sperm whales have died after stranding on a beach on King Island, north of the southern Australian island state of Tasmania, the country’s authorities reported Tuesday.
“It appears all 14 animals are young males and were dead at the time the stranding was reported on Monday afternoon,” Tasmania’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment said in a statement Tuesday.
It is “not unusual” to see sperm whales in the Bass Strait, which runs between Tasmania and the mainland and in which King Island is located, it added.
It is not known why the cetaceans beached, but biologists and veterinarians were traveling to the scene of the incident to collect samples and carry out necropsies where possible to try to determine the cause.
“It is possible the whales were part of the same bachelor pod – a group of younger male sperm whales associating together after leaving the maternal group,” the department said.
Surfers and swimmers were asked to avoid the area due to the risk of the carcasses attracting sharks.
Whales are often found stranded on the coasts of southern Australia and neighboring New Zealand.
Experts have not been able to definitively clarify the reasons why whales beach, although they usually attribute this to diseases, navigation errors, sudden changes in tides, predators or extreme weather conditions. EFE