Nearly 200 stranded pilot whales have died on Tasmania’s west coast, but rescuers successfully returned 32 animals to deeper water on 22 September 2022. Marine conservationists launched a rescue mission on Wednesday and efforts continued throughout Thursday, as per The Guardian.
On Thursday morning, authorities said only 35 of the 230 cetaceans on Ocean Beach had survived. But the incident controller, Brendon Clark, said on Thursday afternoon that 32 of those 35 animals had been rescued.
“We still have three alive on the northern end beach, but because of access restrictions, predominantly tidal influences, we just haven’t been able to access those three animals safely today, but they’ll be our priority in the morning. We’ll be transitioning to carcass recovery and disposal operations throughout the course of the day,” Clark said.
The exposed conditions on Ocean Beach contributed to the high death rate and said authorities were limiting volunteer involvement only to those with previous marine wildlife training or experience.
“We appreciate all of the offers and all of the goodwill that is expressed from the community. It’s more a matter of having a safe working environment and skilled and trained personnel. We will be doing patrols ourselves both via air reconnaissance and also harbour sweeps via vessel,” Clark added
It is reported that the environmental conditions on Ocean Beach were much more difficult compared to the relative shelter of the estuary, where another mass stranding event occurred two years ago. Authorities have asked vessel operators within Macquarie Harbour to monitor for potential strandings at other sites.