Hobart (AP) – The day after the mass stranding of around 230 pilot whales in a bay on the Australian island of Tasmania, only 35 animals are reported to be alive. Helpers were on duty on Thursday to moisten the bodies of the marine mammals with buckets of water and wet towels. The broadcaster “ABC” spoke of a “race against time”. Five other animals died that night alone, said Brendon Clark of the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service.
The pilot whales (also known as pilot whales) were stranded in remote Macquarie Bay on the west of the island. According to eyewitnesses, half of them were still alive. Exactly two years ago, 470 pilot whales were stranded in the same bay, 111 of them survived.
“Unfortunately, the pilot whales’ probability of survival is low,” whale researcher Olaf Meynecke from Griffith University in Queensland told the German Press Agency. Even if the surviving whales were transported to the open sea, many could try to return to their stranded friends and family members, the German explained.
Whale researcher: “One of the worst moments of my job”
The emotional stress of the animals, which have developed extremely close bonds with one another, is very great. “Some animals will make it, however, but the majority of them will perish,” he explained, adding, “For a cetacean scientist like me, this is one of the worst moments of my job.”
With heavy equipment and boats, the emergency services want to try to transport the surviving whales several hundred meters into the sea, as Australian media reported. However, the rescue work is very difficult because Ocean Beach, where the animals were washed ashore, is a 30-minute walk from the nearest parking lot.
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