Australia Australian pilot whale: Tasmanian authorities rush to rescue hundreds of trapped animals

Australia Australian pilot whale: Tasmanian authorities rush to rescue hundreds of trapped animals

About 270 pilot whales are trapped in Strahan, a small town in the island state of Tasmania on the south coast of mainland Australia. They are scattered over two sandbars and a beach bar, according to the Tasmanian Marine Conservation Program, which is leading the rescue operation.

“Late yesterday we had about a third of the animals already dead,” said Chris Chris, a wildlife biologist. At a news conference Tuesday morning. He added that it was difficult to make a more accurate estimate of the deaths, as the whales were spread over a large area and did not enter some places.

“This is a really challenging phenomenon,” he said. “This is one of the difficulties we have faced in terms of large-scale tensions in Tasmania.”

Other potential problems include unpredictable tides that are being washed away, and the possibility of distressed whales attracting sharks to the area.

Rescue teams of about 60 people include volunteers, police, fish farms and Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service. With the ticking of the clock, they are forced to try, starting with the whales with the best chance of success, Carlien said.

First, rescuers are trying to “move” (change) the whale into the water, ”Carlyen said – and if it doesn’t work, or if it treats the whale irregularly, they will move on.

Rescue missions will probably take days, raising concerns that whales may not live that long. But the current weather is keeping the whales wet and cool, which is “ideal,” Carlyen said – whales can survive a few more days if conditions remain like this.

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It is not entirely clear what caused the whales to be washed ashore, although Carlyon added that some other mass strands have occurred at similar locations. The whale would have been drawn after eating near the shore; Or, a few whales would have wandered too close into “simple misconduct,” and after the rest pod.

After rescuers hope to rescue the remaining whales, they will have another daunting task – moving dozens of whale carcasses from inside the harbor to the sea. Experts prefer to leave corpses, especially when strands occur, Carlien said – but they can’t do that in this case because the area is close to human campgrounds and activity sites.

Officials warned people to stay out of the area, and not to approach the beach in boats.

Tasmania is the only Australian state where large numbers of whales and dolphins are regularly stranded, according to the state. Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.

These mass strands often include social species that live together in large groups, according to the section. Pilot whales, sperm whales and bottlenose dolphins are the species that are most often trapped.

Whales have a “very tight family bond”, so if one whale is trapped, others can hear and follow its calls, and lead the whole pod to shore, According to the department.

Jack Guy and Sol Hein of CNN contributed to this report.

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