Parks and Wildlife Service staff are rushing to the scene of Tasmania’s second mass whale stranding in as many weeks.
Mmore than 80 long-finned pilot whales have beached themselves at remote Sandy Cape, on the West Coast.
Remote Sandy Cape is famed for its large sand dunes and its proximity to the Tarkine forest, and its rugged, rocky shoreline.
UPDATE: Sadly, all the whales have died after taking a “physical beating on the rocks”.
Department of Primary Industries and Water spokesman Warwick Brennan said the long-finned pilot whales, discovered on a rocky area of coastline near Sandy Cape, died when they were forced into rocks.
Mr Brennan said 30 others were saved from the same fate when one whale began vocally socialising with a pod offshore and was taken further up the beach in an effort to stop those whales from coming in.
They moved on after it died.
UPDATE December 1: On the ground body count finds initial estimate from air of 80 stranded way too low. Latest count is more than 150.
The body of a minke whale and its calf are dragged onto the whaling ship
The Australian Federal Government says photographs taken by the Customs ship the Oceanic Viking of Japanese whalers killing a whale and its calf will strengthen any legal case against the whalers.
The pictures, released by the Government today, show a slaughtered minke whale and its calf being hauled up the ramp of the Japanese ship, the Yushin Maru.
Customs has also released video of whales being harpooned from the ship.
The Government is extending the duration of its whaling surveillance program and says the Attorney-General is still considering what kind of legal action should be taken and who it should be brought against.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett says the pictures released today support Australia’s position.
‘I think it’s explicitly clear from these images that this is indiscriminate killing of whales, where you have a whale and its calf killed in this way,’ he said.
‘To claim that this is in anyway scientific is to continue the charade that surrounded this issue from day one.’
Posted by Dave Walsh, onboard the Esperanza
It’s been an intense morning here on the Esperanza – after eleven days preventing the Japanese whaling fleet from killing whales, this morning we blocked the Nisshin Maru from refuelling in Antarctic waters from the dodgy Panamanian-registered vessel Oriental Bluebird.
As part of a dramatic non-violent protest against the whaling fleet’s activities in the Southern Ocean, Jetske and Heath placed their inflatable boat between the factory ship and refueling vessel, as the massive two ships tried to come alongside to refuel.
However, despite radio calls explaining our protest and plan, the vessels continued to close in on each other — and after half an hour, the inflable was forced out, with Jetske nearly getting caught by a cable. Only then did the refuelling begin.