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HomeNationalAbout 230 whales are beached in Tasmania; Rescue efforts are underway...

About 230 whales are beached in Tasmania; Rescue efforts are underwayTAZAA News

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About 230 whales have been stranded on Tasmania’s west coast, just days after 14 sperm whales were found on an island off the southeast coast.

Tasmania’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment said on Wednesday that the pod stranded on an ocean beach appeared to be pilot whales, with at least half believed to be alive.

This photo, provided by Huan Aquaculture, shows stranded whales in Macquarie Harbor
Wednesday in Strahan, Tasmania, Australia. (AP Photo)

A team from the Marine Conservation Program is assembling whale rescue gear and heading to the area, the department said.

A resident told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that whales were being seen near the entrance to Macquarie Harbor and described the stranding as a “massive incident.” West Coast Council general manager David Midson urged people to be clear.

“Whales are a protected species and even once dead, it is a crime to obstruct the carcass,” the Department of Environment said. Griffith University marine scientist Olaf Manek said it was unusual for sperm whales to wash ashore.

A sperm whale is spotted on a beach on King Island, Tasmania, Australia on September 20, 2022. (Reuters image)

Warmer temperatures will also change ocean currents and disrupt the whale’s traditional food sources, he said.

“They move to different areas and search for different food sources,” Meinke said. “When they do this, they’re not in the best physical condition because they may be hungry, which leads them to take more risks and be closer to shore.”

Fourteen sperm whales were found on King Island in the state of Tasmania in Bass Strait between Melbourne and Tasmania’s north coast on Monday afternoon.

The department said it was not unusual to see sperm whales in Tasmania.

Pilot whales are notorious for stranding large numbers for reasons that are not fully understood.

Two years ago, about 470 long-finned pilot whales were found beached on sandbars off Tasmania’s west coast in the largest mass stranding on record in Australia. After a week-long effort, 111 of the whales were rescued, but the rest died.

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