Rescuers Discover Two Hundred More Pilot Whales Stranded Off Tasmania’s West Coast

The state’s largest recorded stranding

Article heading image for Rescuers Discover Two Hundred More Pilot Whales Stranded Off Tasmania’s West Coast

Tasmania Police

Another 200 beached pilot whales have been discovered at a nearby site on Tasmania’s West Coast by rescuers early Wednesday morning.

This brings the total of stranded whales to over 470 making it Tasmania’s largest stranding on record.

The further 200 beached wales were discovered using thermal imaging ten kilometres south of the pod stranded yesterday at Macquarie Harbour.

Marine Conservation Program Wildlife Biologist, Dr Kris Carlyon, spoke to Brian about the current situation from the Incident Management Centre in Strahan.

“We are still looking at imagining and getting a boat on site to see just what condition those animals are in and whether there are still any alive but at this stage it looks like most of those additional animals are deceased,” he said.

Dr Carlyon says that the team are focusing their efforts on the sand bar named Fraser Flats close to the heads of Macquarie Harbour where, on Tuesday, 25 animals were rescued, and quite a few are still alive.

“Yesterday we were successful in moving off quite a number of animals which was a big success.”

“Any animals that we are moving in this situation is a big win so that was a great result.”

Dr Carlyon says that they are working in a unique set of circumstances with limited access to the site and complex tides which can make the situation extremely overwhelming.

“I guess that we are so focused on what we are doing that it can be hard to process at the time but it is quite a confronting situation.”

The factors that caused this mass stranding are unknown, but he suspects that it was a miss-adventure by a whale and which resulted in the rest of the pod following.

Dr Carlyon says that these animals are robust and that the rescue efforts will continue however, their attentions will unfortunately soon be turned to carcass recovery and disposal.

“Some animals will survive perhaps another few days…however we are dealing with stressed and exhausted animals and we are expecting continued mortality unfortunately.”

Listen to the full interview below.

Chelsea Wilde

23 September 2020

Article by:

Chelsea Wilde

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