Around 200 whales die on an Australian beach where hundreds more died exactly 2 years ago

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HOBART, Australia (AP) — Wildlife experts Thursday rescued 32 of 230 whales that were found stranded on the wild and remote west coast of Australia’s island state of Tasmania a day earlier.

Half of the pod of pilot whales found stranded in Macquarie Harbor were still assumed to be alive on Wednesday, the Tasmanian Department of Natural Resources and Environment said.

but only 35 had survived the strong waves overnight, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service manager Brendon Clark said.

“Of the 35 that were left alive this morning, we’ve managed to refloat, rescue and release… 32 of those animals, and that’s an excellent result,” Clark told reporters Thursday night in nearby Strahan.

Only 35 of the whales were still alive despite rescue efforts that were to continue Thursday.

“We still have three alive at the north end of Ocean Beach, but due to access restrictions, predominantly tidal influences, we have not been able to access those three animals safely today. But they will be our priority in the morning,” Clark added.

The whales ran aground two years to the day Largest mass beaching in Australian history was discovered in the same port.

On September 21, 2020, around 470 long-finned pilot whales were found trapped in sandbars. After a week-long effort, 111 of those whales were rescued but the rest died.

The entrance to the harbor is a notoriously shallow and dangerous channel known as Hell’s Gate.

Marine Conservation Program biologist Kris Carlyon said the dead whales would be tested for toxins in their systems that could explain the disaster.

A photo taken on September 21, 2020 shows a pod of whales stranded on a sandbar in Macquarie Harbour, on Tasmania’s rugged west coast. A marine wildlife scientist suggested that the repeated strandings could be due to “something environmental”.

“These mass stranding events are typically the result of an accidental shoreline, and that’s for a whole host of reasons,” Carlyon said.

Local salmon farmer Linton Kringle helped with the 2020 rescue effort and said Thursday’s challenge was made more difficult because the whales were in shallower, more exposed water.

Fourteen sperm whales were discovered On Monday afternoon beached on King Island in the Bass Strait between the Australian mainland and Tasmania.

Griffith University marine scientist Olaf Meynecke said it is unusual for sperm whales to come ashore. He said warmer temperatures could also be changing ocean currents and moving the whales’ traditional food.

HOBART, Australia (AP) — A day after 230 whales were found stranded on the wild and remote west coast of Australia’s island state of Tasmania, only 35 remained alive despite rescue efforts set to continue Thursday.

Half of the pod of pilot whales stranded in Macquarie Harbor were still supposed to be alive on Wednesday, the Tasmanian Department of Natural Resources and Environment said.

But the strong surf took a big night, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service manager Brendon Clark said.

Rescuers attempt to move a stranded whale into open water in Macquarie Harbor on Tasmania’s west coast on Thursday.

“We screened the animals yesterday as part of the preliminary assessment and identified those animals that were most likely to survive out of the approximately 230 that were stranded. Today’s focus will be on rescue and release operations,” Clark told reporters in the vicinity of Strahan.

“We have approximately 35 surviving animals on the beach … and the primary focus this morning will be the rescue and release of those animals,” Clark added.

The whales stranded two years after the largest mass stranding in Australian history was discovered in the same harbor.

On September 21, 2020, around 470 long-finned pilot whales were found trapped in sandbars. After a week-long effort, 111 of those whales were rescued but the rest died.

The entrance to the harbor is a notoriously shallow and dangerous channel known as Hell’s Gate.

Local salmon farmer Linton Kringle helped with the 2020 rescue effort, saying the latest challenge would be more difficult.

“Last time they were in the harbor and it was pretty quiet and we were able to, more or less, deal with them there and we were able to get the boats to them,” Kringle said.

“But just on the beach, you just can’t get a boat in there, it’s too shallow, too rough. My idea would be to try and get them into a vehicle if we can’t swim them out,” Kringle added.

Vanessa Pirotta, a wildlife scientist who specializes in marine mammals, said it was too early to explain why the stranding occurred.

“The fact that we’ve seen similar species, at the same time, in the same place, recurring in terms of strandings in that same place could provide some sort of indication that there might be something environmental here,” Pirotta said.

David Midson, general manager of the West Coast Council township, urged people to stay away.

“The fact that we’ve seen similar species, at the same time, in the same place, recurring in terms of strandings in that same place could provide some kind of indication that there might be something environmental here.”

“Whales are a protected species, even once dead, and it is an offense to interfere with a carcass,” the environment department said.

Fourteen sperm whales were discovered Monday afternoon on King Island, part of the state of Tasmania in the Bass Strait between Melbourne and the north coast of Tasmania.

Griffith University marine scientist Olaf Meynecke said it is unusual for sperm whales to come ashore. He said warmer temperatures could also be changing ocean currents and moving the whales’ traditional food.

“They will go to different areas and look for different food sources,” Meynecke said. “When they do this, they’re not in the best physical condition because they may be starving, so this can lead to them taking more risks and maybe getting closer to shore.”

Pilot whales have been known to run aground en masse, for reasons that are not fully understood.

Around 200 whales die on an Australian beach where hundreds more died exactly 2 years ago

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