About 380 pilot whales have died after becoming stranded in Macquarie Harbor on Tasmania’s west coast on September 21. Rescuers have saved about 50, according to local news reports.
An aerial survey discovered another group of whales stranded further south in the harbor on September 22, the Tasmanian Government said. The additional whales were part of the same mass stranding event, bringing the total to more than 450.
Around 60 people were involved in the effort to save the whales, including 40 from various state agencies.
The mass stranding event was the largest ever recorded in Tasmania, according to Marine and Conservation Program wildlife biologist Dr Kris Carlyon.
“Globally there has been some much bigger events than this, twice the size and over, for example, in New Zealand. In Tasmania, this is the biggest we have recorded,” Dr Carlyon said. “There is little we can do to prevent this occurring in the future.”
Local news reported that 50 pilot whales had been saved so far. Dr Carlyon added that the focus going forward would be on the remaining live animals, and that teams were optimistic about getting more whales off the sandbar.
These clips show a group of rescuers pulling one of the whales onto a truck. Members of the public were urged to stay away from the area to avoid interfering with the rescue effort. Credit: Tasmania Police via Storyful