Australia Counts Record 470 Stranded Whales As Rescue Continues

Australia Counts Record 470 Stranded Whales As Rescue Continues

Rescuers trying to free a pod of whales stuck on sandbars off Tasmania have found more stranded animals, raising the total to 470 and making it one of Australia's biggest beachings.

"They do have a very strong social system, these animals are closely bonded and that's why we have seen so many in this case unfortunately in this situation", Ms Pirotta said.

Around 380 whales have died after becoming stranded in an inlet off the coast of the Australian island of Tasmania, according to officials.

"We are going to basically take the animals with the best chance to start with and the ones that we (are) able to deal with. We absolutely need some more investment in research to understand these whales in Australian waters".

The rescue crew of 60 conservationists, skilled volunteers and local fish farm workers are concentrating their efforts on the roughly 200 whales on a sandbar, where the creatures are partially submerged in water.

"We have shown fairly conclusively that animals will regroup, they will reform those social bonds, and they will - at least in the short- to medium-term for the duration that they've been tracked - demonstrate normal and natural behaviour", Carlyon said.

Previously, Australia's biggest mass stranding had been in 1996 when 320 pilot whales washed up on the western coast.

"We already have staff on the way to make an assessment, but certainly from the air didn't appear to be in a condition that would warrant rescue", he told reporters in the nearby town of Strahan.

One large group was initially discovered stranded near the harbour's head on Monday, with rescuers on Wednesday morning spotting 200 dead whales a few kilometres away.

Australia Counts Record 470 Stranded Whales As Rescue Continues

The outlook for the remaining 30 stranded and still alive pilot whales, a species of oceanic dolphin that grow to 7 metres (23 ft) long and can weigh up to 3 tonnes, was bleak.

In this September 22, 2020, file photo, members of a rescue crew stand with a whale on a sand bar near Strahan, Australia.

"This is such a complex event that any whale we save we are considering a real win", he stated.

And rescue teams are optimistic that they can save more.

Wildlife biologist Kris Carlyon, among the professionals leading the rescue objective, stated this stranding occasion is the greatest ever tape-recordedin Tasmania "There is little we can do to prevent this occurring in the future", he included.

Diseases, toxins from algae and extreme weather can all cause the whales to swim off course, Hodgins said.

Strandings of pilot and sperm whales are not uncommon in Tasmania, Deka said on Monday, adding that Macquarie Harbor seems to be a "hot spot".

It is thought the two groups were part of the same pod.

Marine scientist Vanessa Pirotta said there were a number of potential reasons that whales might become beached, including navigational errors.