An estimated 270 pilot whales were stranded on the southern-most states of Australia, of which almost one third died, as rescuers managed to save 25 as of now.
The state of Tasmania is prone to whales stranding, and every year many stranded whales die from dehydration, collapsing from their own weight or choking to death from covered blowholes.
But this year’s numbers have surpassed that of the last few years, reports confirm. The whales were spotted Monday on two sandbars and a beach near the west coast town of Strahan.
“We’ve rescued about 25 at the present time and escorted them out the channel and out to sea and crews are continuing to work, so that number will increase before we get to the end of the day,” said Nic Deka, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service Manager to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, NBC News reported.
Rescuers reportedly went to the icy waters to attach the big animals with a sling via which they would be pulled by boats to deeper waters. The specie, which is an oceanic dolphin can grow up to 7 meters (23 ft) long and can weigh up to 3 tonnes.
Speaking about their chances of survival after the usually-long stranding sessions, Deka said the pilot whales are a robust specie and if the weather stays cool the survivors have a chance for lasting several days.
Stranding of whales has fascinated scientists for decades, and there is still no exact reason known why the whales, dolphins, and porpoises strand themselves to death.
Each year, hundreds of whales, especially pilots, are known to wash ashore and gradually die, sometimes singularly and sometimes in large numbers, like the recent Australia case.
There are many possible reasons why whales or dolphins strand themselves in masses. Experts suggest, in some cases, the pod-leader makes a mistake in navigation that leads the whole pod to get stranded.
In the case of single stranding events, it is usually a sick or disoriented whale or dolphin that gets washed ashore among many other causes. There have been cases of muti-specie whale stranding in the aftermath of a major disaster like oil spills in the region, Whales.Org says.