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Sport Cetacean stranding in Tasmania: help can only save a dozen dolphins

13:35  24 september  2020
13:35  24 september  2020 Source:   ouest-france.fr

Australia pilot whales: Tasmania officials race to save hundreds of stranded animals

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Tasmania is the only Australian state where mass strandings of whales and dolphins occur on a regular basis, according to the state's Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. These mass strandings often involve social species that live together in large groups, according to

Strandings happen periodically in Tasmania as whales go by during their migration to and from Antarctic waters, but scientists do not know why it happens. In January, 45 sperm whales died after becoming stranded on a remote Tasmanian sandbar, even though rescuers worked for days to keep

Des secouristes s’activent dans les eaux gelées de Macquarie Harbour, en Tasmanie. © Photo Rodie Weeding / Pool via REUTERS Rescuers are busy in the frozen waters of Macquarie Harbor, Tasmania.

Only a dozen of the 470 "pilot dolphins" trapped in a bay in Tasmania, Australia, can still be saved, rescuers announced Thursday who are beginning to resign themselves to euthanizing the most suffering.

At least ,380 pilot whales have died since they were discovered four days ago stranded on sandbanks in a bay on the west coast of the island of Tasmania.

This is the biggest cetacean massacre in the history of Australia .

Around 70 pilot dolphins survived but the toll could rise further as the chances of survival dwindle over time.

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"Whale strandings are not uncommon in Tasmania , and whale strandings of this scale are not uncommon either, but certainly we haven't "But even that was quite a success story because … what looked like a situation, where they were all going to die, DPIPWE managed to save a few," he said.

Nearly 400 whales have died in Australia's worst stranding . Jools Farrell told the BBC how rescuers help those still alive. Nearly 400 whales have died in Australia's worst stranding , and rescuers are racing against the clock to save pilots whales who are beached on the west coast of Tasmania .

We have around 25 animals which we believe still have the strength to be successfully released, said Nic Deka, the manager of Tasmanian Nature Parks.

He explained that the rescuers, whose job is physically demanding, will continue their rescue operations until nightfall.

About 60 people, including environmentalists and workers from nearby aquaculture farms, spent hours in the icy waters of Macquarie Harbor, amid the cries of dying cetaceans.

Very sociable animal

It’s moving, said Sam Thalmann, a rescuer.

People are in the water up to the waist or the chest, he said.

There are animals swimming around, they make sounds. We see the bonds they have between themselves and those who are a couple.

Pilot dolphins, which can be up to six meters in length and weigh a ton, are known to be particularly outgoing.

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Tasmania is the only part of Australia prone to mass strandings , although they occasionally occur on the Australian mainland. Australia’s largest mass stranding had been 320 pilot whales near the Western Australia state town of Dunsborough in 1996.

CETACEANS STRANDED NO MORE - Free download as Word Doc (.doc), PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or read online for free. At a global conference a couple months ago, New Zealand was the ONLY COUNTRY to vote against any measures to protect the Maui's dolphins is this insane or what?

Some of them resisted the means deployed to save them and tried to return to their families after being released, which resulted in them being stranded a second time.

The level of distress of some pilot whales is such that the authorities have said that they are considering killing at least four in order to reduce their suffering.

We are currently investigating the possibility of euthanizing a small number of animals that we have attempted to release without success, said Kris Carlyon, marine biologist in the Tasmanian Department of the Environment.

This is based solely on animal welfare reasons, he said. It’s always something we think about and we only use it when necessary.

,400 carcasses to manage

Rescuers on Thursday focused their efforts on 20 to 25 cetaceans, partly submerged, using boats with cables attached to escort them out to sea.

Operations officials are also considering how best to dispose of the carcasses of the nearly 400 mammals that perished.

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Cetacean stranding is a phenomenon in which cetaceans strand themselves on land, usually on a beach. Beached whales often die due to dehydration, collapsing under their own weight, or drowning when high tide covers the blowhole. Several explanations of the stranding have been proposed.

Cetacean stranding , commonly known as beaching, is a phenomenon in which whales and dolphins strand themselves on land, usually on a beach. Beached whales often die due to dehydration, collapsing under their own weight, or drowning when high tide covers the blowhole.

We are starting to develop a plan, we are prioritizing their dumping at sea. We are continuing to seek expert advice on exactly where they should be left, said Nic Deka.

Once abandoned, the carcasses will swell and float which is likely to pose a danger to navigation, pollute the bay and attract sharks and other predators.

The decomposition of such a large number of animals could affect oxygen levels in parts of the bay and disrupt marine life there, according to Nic Deka.

A resident working on a cruise ship who says her name is Monique said the local population is shocked by the painful scenes she witnessed.

It was very sad, she said, you could tell they were in pain. On the beach they were still… huffing, turning around and you couldn't really help them.

Natural event

The reasons why cetaceans sometimes fail in droves in this way remain unknown even to scientists who have studied this phenomenon for decades.

However, some researchers suggest that these pilot whales may have deviated from their route, attracted to food near the shore, or that they followed one or two of them who would have strayed.

For Kris Carlyon, this is a natural event, with strandings of the species having occurred regularly throughout history, both in southern Australia and in New Zealand, as well as in other parts of the world.

We intervene in this kind of situation but there is little we can do to prevent it from happening again, he stressed.

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This is interesting!