About 230 whales have washed up on a Tasmanian beach exactly two years since a similar event happened in 2020.
On Wednesday, the Tasmanian government’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment said marine conservation experts were on their way to the area on the west coast of the island where the whales had stranded on a flat sand. in Macquarie Harbour.
At that time, it turned out that half of the animals, thought to be pilot whales, were still alive.
Experts plan to use rescue equipment to save as many whales, which are protected animals, as possible.
“Please note that volunteers are not required at this time,” the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service said via Facebook on Wednesday morning. “If it is determined that there is a need for assistance from the general public, a request will be made through various channels.”
Officials will be guided by a whale stranding response manual that has been under intense review since 2020, when a similar – and even more serious – event occurred in the same location.
On September 21 and 22, 2020, around 470 pilot whales washed up in the harbor, and around 380 of them died.
The event is still the worst mass stranding of whales on record in Australian territory. On this occasion, government staff as well as volunteers worked to help put the animals back in the water, maneuvering large straps under the whales.
Dr Kris Carlyon, wildlife biologist with the Tasmanian Government’s Marine Conservation Programme, said The gardians at the time: “There is no indication that this [stranding] is of human origin. This is a natural event and we know that strandings have happened before and we know this from the fossil record.
“As far as the possibility of preventing this from happening, there is not much we can do.”
In marine biology, stranding refers to when a living or dead marine mammal ends up on land and cannot return to the water without assistance.
If a marine mammal ends up out of the water, it loses the ability to regulate its body temperature and also experiences unnatural weight and pressure on its internal organs, leading to injury or death.
Scientists still don’t know exactly why whale stranding events occur, but such incidents have been happening for thousands of years at least.
Natural factors are known to play a role, including age, illness, bad weather and navigational errors. According to Florida’s Fish & Wildlife Foundation, if a single whale gets into trouble, its cries of distress can cause others to run aground as well.
However, human behavior is also a factor. Some scientists believe that human-made underwater noise, such as powerful sonar signals used by the military, can cause whales to flee to beaches to escape the sound or even harm them inside.