‘Australia’s worst stranding’ kills 380 whales

'Australia's worst stranding' kills 380 whales
Rescuers are trying to keep the stranded whales wet and cool. Source: BILAL RASHID/REUTERS
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: Australian officials say about 380 whales have died in what is suspected to be the country’s largest stranding on record.

Hundreds of long-finned pilot whales have been found beached on Tasmania’s west coast since Monday.

By late on Wednesday, Rescuers had managed to save 50 and they were trying to help the remaining estimated 30 whales.

Tasmanian government officials said the rescue effort would continue “as long as there are live animals”.

Nik Deka said: “While they’re still alive and in water, there’s still hope for them – but as time goes on they do become more fatigued.”

He added focus would now also shift to removing the hundreds of carcasses scattered along the coast.

It is not fully understood why the whales became stranded in the beach. The species is known to be prone to getting beached.

The stranding has already become one of the largest globally, eclipses a previous national record of 320 set in Western Australia in 1996.

The mammals largely washed up on sand spits in the waters around an area called Macquarie Heads.

The first rescuers on Monday counted about 270 whales, but on Tuesday, a helicopter spotted another 200 dead whales nearby.

Officials said the second group of whales may have washed in with the tide, but was believed to be part of the same pod.

A team of about 60 people have used slings and other equipment to help pull the animals off the sand banks so they are fully immersed in water.

Once they are “re-floated”, they are guided back into deeper waters.

At least 50 whales were escorted back into the sea, which they deemed a “success”, rescuers said.