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Sad summer for whale strandings


Nearly 200 pilot whales and a handful of bottlenose dolphins have beached at Naracoopa on the eastern side of King Island in Bass Strait.

By Monday afternoon only 54 of the 194 pilot whales were still alive, along with seven dolphins.

According to ABC News:

Chris Arthur from the Parks and Wildlife Service says he remains optimistic about their chances.

“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.

“While they’re alive there is a chance,” he said.

Mr Arthur says there is concern for whales close to shore.

“There’s quite a large number of animals still out at sea just off shore milling around.”

More than 150 King Island residents have been assisting with the rescue and have now been joined by Parks and Wildlife staff who flew in late this morning to take charge.

Nigel Burgess is one of the residents involved in trying to refloat the surviving 54 whales.

He has told ABC Local Radio they are on a flat section of the beach.

“It’s a matter of getting them into the water. It’s so shallow, getting them out,” he said.

King Island Council general manager Andrew Wardlaw says it is a community effort.

“Families, children, mums and dads, grandparents all here helping out doing their bit under the guidance of a local parks ranger,” he said.

While conditions were calm for rescuers this morning the Bureau of Meteorology says north-easterly winds of up to 30 knots are expected later in the day.

It is the fourth mass stranding in Tasmania’s north-west since November.


peter dobson 06.02.09 at 10:34 pm

I need to make contact with the leader of Parks and Wildlife staff who flew in to take charge of this stranding reported above as we are trying to build upo a data base of how to deal with whale strandings for the Western Cape in South Africa. Can some body help me?

david pemberton 10.15.09 at 11:05 am

I was there as the widlife co-ordinator and Chris Arthur was the Inident Controller. We have both been in contact with Mike in Cape Town, forgotten his surname, the bloke who coped the SS rath….I know how he feels!!!!!!!!!

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