Publish: 22 Sep 2022, 04:31 pm
About 200 pilot whales have perished after being stranded on an exposed, surf-swept beach on the rugged west coast of Tasmania, Australian rescuers said Thursday.
Just 35 of the approximately 230 whales discovered on the beach the day before were still alive, the state’s wildlife service operations manager, Brendon Clark, told journalists at the scene.
Aerial images have revealed dozens of glossy, black mammals strewn across Ocean Beach, stuck on the waterline where the frigid southern ocean meets the sand.
“We have got about 35 surviving animals out on the beach and the primary focus this morning will be on the rescue and release of these animals,” said Clark, who is managing the incident.
“Unfortunately we do have a high mortality rate on this particular stranding. That’s predominantly due to the exposed conditions out on Ocean Beach,” he added.
“The environmental conditions, the surf out there on the exposed west coast, Ocean Beach, is certainly taking its toll on the animals.”
Locals had covered whales with blankets and doused them with buckets of water to keep them alive after they were discovered on the beach.
Two years ago nearby Macquarie Harbour was the scene of the country’s largest-ever mass stranding, involving almost 500 pilot whales.
More than 300 pilot whales died during that stranding, despite the efforts of dozens of volunteers who toiled for days in Tasmania’s freezing waters to free them.
Clark said the conditions of the latest stranding were tougher for the whales than two years ago when the animals were in “much more sheltered waters”.
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