Related News

Home » World

Almost 200 whales stranded on Australian island

RESCUERS were trying yesterday to save dozens of pilot whales after almost 200 beached themselves on an island near Australia's southern state of Tasmania, with many already dead.

Rescuers said only 54 of the 194 pilot whales who stranded themselves on King Island, between Tasmania and the Australian mainland, late yesterday were still alive.

But wildlife authorities were confident that those who had survived the beaching could be saved. Seven dolphins also beached themselves.

"It's amazing, some will some die straight away, some will survive for days. These are fairly robust animals, pilot whales, we experienced that in the past," Chris Arthur, from Tasmania's Parks and Wildlife Service, told Australian state radio.

"While they're alive there is a chance," he said.

The latest mass beaching takes the number of whales stranded in Tasmania's northwest over the past three months to more than 400, and follows the deaths of 48 sperm whales in January. Mass strandings of whales occur periodically in Australia and New Zealand for reasons that are not entirely understood.

Theories include disturbance of echo-location, possibly by interference from sound produced by human activities at sea.

Arthur said more than 150 local people were helping parks officials in trying to refloat the surviving whales from a flat stretch of sand at Naracoopa beach and shepherd them back to sea, where a large number of whales were still milling in a pod.

"Families, children, mums and dads, grandparents all here helping out doing their bit under the guidance of a local parks ranger," King Island Council General Manager Andrew Wardlaw told local radio.

Weather bureau officials said the rescue effort could be complicated by strong winds expected to bring rougher sea conditions.

Pilot whales are among the smaller whales, typically up to about 5 metres (16 feet) in length and dark with a grey underbelly.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend