Cetacean stranding, also known as beaching had happened in Australia last week. It is a phenomenon in which dolphins or whales strand themselves on the beach.
According to the rescuers, at least 90 whales have died stranded off Tasmania. Some experienced rescuers said that more whales are feared to be dying. Whale beaching is quite common in Tasmania, but such size has not been encountered for decades. The rescuers were able to save 25 of the animals last Tuesday, despite the challenging circumstances.
Where are the whales being stranded?
Rescuers from the Tasmanian Marine Conservation Program found three groups of whales across Macquarie Heads, an island located in the West Coast region of Tasmania, Australia. The number of whales found stranded was around 270. They consist of 200 mammals from the sandbar near a boat ramp, 30 others found a several hundred meters away. While another 30 were discovered further inland along Ocean Beach.
How are they being rescued?
A team of 40 trained rescuers used the “re-float” method to rescue the groups of animals. This method is used to push the animals off the sandbar into deeper waters with special equipment. Once the whales are doing well in the water, the rescuer will get them further out.
Challenges faced during the rescue
Some of the whales’ locations were relatively hard for the rescuer to find. Wildlife biologist Dr Kris Carlyon added many of the animals may be too big for the rescuers to get them further out, especially when it comes to the rescue of pilot whales. This happened because they can grow up to seven meters long and weigh up to three tonnes. Strong tides further worsened the condition. Therefore, the rescuers will take the animals with the best chance to start with.
Why do whales beach themselves?
The reason is simply unknown. However, the researcher said there are possibilities in which the whales follow their leaders as they have strong social bonds. It then leads to a whole group of whales beaching themselves.
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Content Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-54244499
Prepared by: Anne