Australia: race against time to save the last cetaceans stranded on a beach

By Le360 (AFP) on 09/23/2022 at 08:02

Stranded dolphins - Australia - Tasmania - Ocean Beach - Pilot whales - Cetaceans

Carcasses of nearly 200 pilot whales stranded at Macquarie Heads (west coast of Tasmania), September 23, 2022. Nearly 200 cetaceans perished on this beach. Australian rescuers were only able to save a few dozen of them on September 22.

© Copyright: Glenn NICHOLLS / AFP

VideoAustralian rescuers are trying this Friday, September 23, 2022 to refloat the last pilot dolphins who survived after stranding on a beach in Tasmania, where more than 200 of their congeners have already perished.

Less than a dozen of these shiny black mammals are still alive, state wildlife services said on Friday.

“The priority remains to save and refloat the animals that are still alive” and those who are stranded again on the coast, underlined Brendon Clark, responsible for the Tasmanian parks and wildlife service.

Three pilot whales could not yet be reached because they were too far from shore and because of difficult tidal conditions, he told reporters at the scene.

The next step, he detailed, will be to remove the carcasses.

Some 30 pilot whales were refloated yesterday, Thursday, but a few were stranded a second time on Ocean Beach.

On Wednesday, around 230 mammals were found on the beach and since then, rescuers and residents have been mobilizing to save them.

Macquarie Harbour, where this phenomenon took place, was the scene almost two years ago to the day of another massive stranding, involving nearly 500 pilot dolphins.

More than 300 of them were then dead, despite the efforts of dozens of volunteers who struggled for days in the freezing waters of Tasmania to free the animals.

The causes of these major strandings are not fully known.

Researchers have suggested they could be caused by groups of cetaceans straying after feeding too close to shore.

These pilot whales, which can grow up to six meters, being very sociable animals, they can follow members of their group who get lost and find themselves in danger.

By Le360 (AFP)

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