Race on to save 35 whales after about 200 die in Tasmania stranding

Sydney, Australia, Sep 22 (EFE).- Rescuers were racing against the clock Thursday to save 35 pilot whales still alive out of around 230 that stranded the previous day on a beach in Macquarie Harbor, in the west of the Australian island state of Tasmania.

Teams of experts are trying to refloat the remaining whales after five died overnight at Ocean Beach and a nearby sand flat in the entrance to the harbour, known as by the locals as Hells Gates.

“We are primarily focused this morning on really getting into that rescue operation and getting them [the whales] released,” Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service regional operations manager Brendon Clark told public broadcaster ABC.

“We are conscious that some of them may re-beach themselves, and so we’ll be monitoring that.”

This massive stranding occurred exactly two years after around 470 pilot whales stranded in this same place, of which only 100 could be saved.

“It’s a much more difficult environmental condition out there on Ocean Beach as opposed to the relative shelter of the estuary [in the 2020 stranding],” Clark said.

The incident in Macquarie Harbor came a day after 14 sperm whales died on Tuesday after stranding on a beach on King Island, north of Tasmania.

Whales often beach on the coasts of southern Australia and New Zealand, but experts are still unable to definitively pinpoint the reasons, although they usually attribute them to diseases, navigational errors, sudden changes in tides, or extreme weather conditions. EFE


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