Few Whales More Likely To Survive In Mass Stranding Off Tasmania
MASS STRANDING – Rescuers warned that only a few of the 470 whales stranded off the coast in Australia can still be saved.
About 380 pilot whales have died since they were discovered stranded on the rugged western seaboard of Tasmania days ago.
According to GMA News, about 70 of them have survived and the death toll is expected to rise as hope for rescuing the cetaceans begins to fade.
Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service manager Nic Deka said that few of them have the strength to be successfully released.
“We’ve got about 25 animals that we think have the strength to be successfully released,”
Deka said that the hard physical work of rescuers would continue until nightfall.
Around 60 conservationists and skilled volunteers have spent days in the Macquarie Harbour, which is currently surrounded by the cries of anguished whales slowly dying.
Pilot whales (Globicephala) are notoriously known to be highly social and are named in reference to their pods that were “piloted” by a leader.
Tasmanian environment department marine biologist Kris Carlyon said that they are considering euthanasia with a small number of animals that they’ve attempted to release.
“We’re actually considering euthanasia at this very moment with a small number of animals that we’ve attempted to release and it hasn’t been successful,”
“That’s based purely on animal welfare grounds,” he said. “It’s always something in the back of our minds, we go to it only when needed.”
The crews are now focusing efforts on a group of 20-25 partially submerged whales, which uses boats equipped with special slings to guide them back to the open ocean.
The more concerning matter, however, is how to dispose about 400 whale carcasses safely, based on the report.
“We are starting to form up a plan, our preference is for disposal at sea. We’re still taking expert advice about where exactly the drop off point may be,”
Deka added that the whales would “bloat and float”, causing a navigation hazard, polluting the bay and potentially attracting sharks and other predators.
“The decomposition of such a large number of animals could actually affect oxygen levels in parts of the harbor, which could affect the marine life in those places.”
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