380 whales dead in Australia’s worst stranding in history

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380 whales dead in Australia's worst stranding in history - We The World
Image of the 270 whales stranded on the Tasmanian beach (Courtesy of Cameron Atkins for ABC News via Twitter)

As of Wednesday afternoon, at least 380 pilot whales were confirmed dead on the Tasmanian island, after nearly 100 were found dead Tuesday.

Over 60 rescuers were engaged in coaxing the animals back into the open sea after the mass stranding event was confirmed on Tuesday, initially on the west coast town of Strahan.

The Strahan stranding had 270 pilot whales and rescuers were able to free 25 of them on the same day.

On Wednesday morning, about 10 kilometers away from Strahan, helicopter patroling found another pod of 200 whales, unfortunately, all dead, The Guardian reported.

The additional 200 whales dying at the same time are being said to be the largest number recorded in Tasmania’s history.

In 1918, 1000 pilot-whales were stranded on the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, the largest known beaching record on history.

More than 450 pilot whales were stranded in the recent beaching event, perhaps one of the worst recorded in Australia, and some 50 of them have been rescued and released in the deeper oceans.

On Tuesday 50 whales were lifted and escorted to the deeper waters, and another 50 were released back on Wednesday.

The coordinator of the rescue from Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, Nic Deka said, they are now focusing on retrieving and disposing of the dead whales while also saving those could be saved.

Conservationists say the other pod of 200 whales must have gotten stranded at the same time as the earlier 270 that first bough the even on notice.

Murky waters might have kept them at bay from the view when rescuers detected the first pod stranded on Macquarie Harbour, which is 35-km long and 8-km wide.

60-rescues, mostly from the harbors fish industry volunteered in chest-deep waters to maneuver the whales out.

Pilot whales are very social and it is often difficult to keep them away from the pod. Two whales reportedly returned to the stranding spot after being released in the waters.

Whale stranding has been since time-immemorial, fossil records show, and till now there is no evidence that the usually mass-suicide is a result of human-induced changes and there little that can be done to prevent and save whales from these events.

“It is heartbreaking to see these stranded whales in Tassie. I want to thank the hard-working rescuers and all the amazing volunteers on the ground,” Australia’s environment minister, Sussan Ley, said in a statement to The Guardian.

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