About 200 Stranded Whales Die on Australian Beach

Aerial image of whales stranded on a beach
About
230
pilot
whales
were
stranded
on
an
Australian
beach. 

Department
of
Natural
Resources
and
Environment
Tasmania

About
230
pilot
whales
stranded
themselves
on
a
beach
in
Australia
earlier
this
week,
prompting
a
race
to
save
the
surviving
animals
before
they
perished.

When
officials
arrived
at
the
scene,
on
the
remote
western
coast
of Tasmania,
about
half
of
the
whales
were
already
dead.
But rescue
teams
worked
quickly
to
tend
to
the
survivors,
keeping
them
wet
with
sheets
and
buckets
to
prevent
them
from
overheating,
reports
the

Australian
Broadcasting
Corporation

(ABC). 

Pilot
whales,
which
are
actually
one
of
the
largest
members
of
the
dolphin
family,
grow
to
about
20
feet
and
weigh
up
to
two
tons—a
size
that
can
prove
deadly
when
they’re
lying
on
a
beach,
writes
the


New
York


Times

Natasha
Frost. 

“Because
they’re
so
heavy,
their
body
weight
will
literally
crush
their
organs,”
Vanessa
Pirotta,
a
wildlife
scientist
affiliated
with
Macquarie
University
in
Australia,
tells
the
publication.
“Depending
on
if
they’re
upright
or
on
the
side,
this
will
be
compromising
how
they
breathe
and
their
lungs’
ability
to
function
properly.”

On
Wednesday,
rescue
teams
moved
32
of
the
whales
to
deeper
waters
by
lifting
them
off
the
beach
with
construction
equipment
and
towing
them
by
boat
out
to
sea,
writes
James
Dunlevie
for
the

ABC
.
But
overnight,
about
ten
of
the
animals
re-stranded
themselves.
Fewer
had
returned
to
the
beach
on Friday
morning—which
was
a
good
sign—though
one
died
while
stranded
and
another
five
had
to
be
euthanized,
per
the

Times
.

A telehandler on the beach lifts a whale
Rescue
crews
use
a
telehandler
to
load
whales
during
recovery. 

Department
of
Natural
Resources
and
Environment
Tasmania

Despite
their
best
efforts,
rescue
operations
don’t
always
work,
because
the
whales
want
to
return
to
their
pod,
Pirotta
tells
the

Associated
Press

“They
might
hear
the… sounds
that
the
others
are
making,
or
they’re
just
disoriented
and,
in
this
case,
extremely
stressed,
and
just
probably
so
fatigued
that
they
in
some
cases
don’t
know
where
they
are,”
she
tells
the
publication.
“They
do
have
a
very
strong
social
system.
These
animals
are
closely
bonded,
and
that’s
why
we
have
seen
so
many
in
this
case,
unfortunately.” 

This
event
comes
just
two
years
after
the
biggest
mass
whale
stranding
in
Australian
history.
In
2020,
470
pilot
whales
beached
themselves
in
roughly
the
same
area
in
Tasmania,
per
the


Times
.
Officials
were
able
to
save
about
110
of
those
whales. 

Dead whales line a beach
Dead
pilot
whales
line
a
beach
in
Tasmania. 

Department
of
Natural
Resources
and
Environment
Tasmania

Soon,
the
rescue
team
will
begin
the
grisly
task
of
disposing
of
the
corpses,
tweaking
their
process
from
what
they
did
two
years
ago.

“Last
time
we
did
leave
some
carcasses
in
situ
on
Ocean
Beach
and
were
hoping
for
a
natural
decomposition.
But
that
didn’t
occur
in
a
satisfactory
time
frame,”
Tasmania
Parks
and
Wildlife
Service
incident
controller
Brendon
Clark
tells
the
ABC.
This
time,
officials
will
drag
the
carcasses
to
sea. 

It’s
unclear
exactly
why
the
stranding
happened,
but
scientists
plan
to
analyze
the
bodies
to
see
if
they
can
figure
it
out. 

“One
theory
[is]
that
they
are
potentially
chasing
prey,”
Kris
Carlyon
from
the
Department
of
Natural
Resources
and
Environment
Tasmania,
tells
the
ABC. “These
guys
do
feed
on
squid.
That
could
have
brought
them
into
shore…
That
will
be
part
of
the
post-mortem
investigation.
We’ll
be
looking
at
stomach
contents,
what
these
animals
have
been
feeding
on
in
the
last
few
days.
That
may
offer
up
some
additional
clues.”

Artikel ini diambil dari https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/about-200-stranded-whales-die-on-australian-beach-180980832/

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