March 24, 2023

HOBART, Australia (AP) — Wildlife experts on Thursday rescued 32 of the 230 whales spotted a day earlier in the wilderness and remote west coast of the Australian island nation of Tasmania.

Half of the pod of pilot whales found in Port Macquarie on Wednesday are believed to be alive, Tasmania’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment said.

But only 35 survived the rough waves Overnight, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service manager Brendon Clark said.

“Of the 35 animals that were still alive this morning, we managed to re-float, rescue and release … 32 of them, so this is an amazing result,” Clark told nearby Strahan late Thursday. reporter.

“At the northernmost point of Ocean Beach, we still have three alive, but due to access restrictions, mainly tidal effects, we cannot safely touch these three animals today. But they will be our first priority in the morning,” Clark added.

Two years after the largest mass stranding in Australian history, these whales are stranded Found in the same port.

About 470 long-finned pilot whales were stranded on a sandbar on September 21, 2020. After a week-long effort, 111 of these whales were rescued, but the rest died.

The entrance to the port is a notoriously shallow and dangerous passage known as the Gate of Hell.

Marine Conservation Program biologist Kris Carlyon said the dead whales will be tested to see if there are toxins in their systems that could explain the disaster.

“These mass strandings are often the result of accidental landings for a number of reasons,” Carlyon said.

Linton Kringle, a local salmon farmer who has helped with rescue efforts in 2020, said Thursday’s challenge was more difficult because the whales were in shallower, more exposed waters.

Fourteen sperm whales found It ran aground on Kings Island in the Bass Strait between mainland Australia and Tasmania on Monday afternoon.

Olaf Menek, a marine scientist at Griffith University, said it was unusual for a sperm whale to wash up ashore. Warmer temperatures could also alter ocean currents and move the whales’ traditional food, he said.

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