About a third of the 270 pilot whales stranded in South Australia have died, Australian rescuers point out, pointing out that the complicated operation to save these cetaceans could last days.
The whales are stuck on several shoals of Macquarie Bay, in western Tasmania, as marine biologists and experts study how to keep alive the largest number of these huge mammals, which can measure up to seven meters and weigh about three tons.
“To begin with, we are going to help the animals that have the best chance (of surviving) and those with whom we can deal (…) Some animals may be too large or remain in an inappropriate location to treat them,” commented on Rueda Kris Carlyon, a biologist with the Marine Conservation Program.
The expert pointed out that it is possible that the operation, in which the Tasmania Police and volunteers are also collaborating, will take several days to emphasize that the “phase this morning is critical to determine the possibilities” of saving the animals.
Carlyon, who remarked the difficulty in determining why the whales were stranded, pointed out the hypothesis that these cetaceans would approach the coast in search of food.
The group would have been guided by “one or two” pilot whales and the rest of these social animals would have followed them until they were stuck on the sandbars.
It is not the first time that a group of whales have been stranded on the beaches of Tasmania, especially in Macquarie Bay, where the last massive incident occurred a decade ago.
In previous incidents, the scientific community has considered the possibility that whales come to the coast attracted by the sonars of large ships or guided by a group leader disoriented as a result of suffering from a disease.
Some experts believe that they are social animals and if one of them makes a mistake and goes into shallow water, the rest follow.