Sydney, Australia, Sep 21 (efe-epa).- Some 70 whales were stranded in a remote area of ??the island of Tasmania, in southern Australia, on Monday, with the authorities initiating a rescue operation.
“Marine Conservation Program staff are traveling to the West Coast following reports of about 70 whales stranded on a sandbar in Macquarie Harbour,” the state’s Marine Conservation Program (MCP) said in a Facebook post.
“We understand members of the public are keen to help but ask people to stay away from the area unless asked to attend,” it added.
Although the species has not yet been confirmed, they are believed to be pilot whales (Globicephala), added the regional Department of Environment.
It is not the first time that a pod of whales has been stranded on the beaches of Australia for reasons that experts do not know exactly.
“Mass strandings in Tasmania have occurred due to a range of reasons, for example: misadventure, illness or injury of one or more members of a group, disorientation caused by complex or shallow waterways or rough seas, or a flight response from a perceived threat.,” MCP said on its website.
It added that Tasmania is the only Australian state where mass strandings of whales and dolphins regularly occur, and the MCP responds to these events on average once every two or three weeks.
Meanwhile, a humpback whale that was stranded earlier this month in a crocodile-infested river in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territor returned to the sea at the weekend.
“The whale made its way out on the high tides of this weekend and we’re pleased it appeared to be in good condition and not suffering any ill effects,” Parks Australia said in a Facebook post Monday.
“This is the very best outcome we could have hoped for,” Dr Carol Palmer, Senior Scientist, NT Government said in the message, accompanied by a photograph where the whale appears swimming sideways with a raised fin.
The whale entered the river at the beginning of the month along with two others, but their whereabouts are unknown and the authorities say that they may have returned to the sea or remained submerged during the sightings.
It is believed that the trio made a mistake on their migration route between Antarctic waters and warmer areas or entered the river out of curiosity.
The population of humpback whales in Australia, which has two migratory populations that navigate its west and east coasts, is 70,000, a number that has been increasing due to the protection measures implemented by the country. EFE-EPA