Only 88 of the stranded animals in Tasmania were saved. Many returned to swimming in the shallows after being released.
Rescue teams managed to free 88 of the hundreds of pilot whales that were stranded in a Tasmanian bay. There are now only 20 whales in Australia.
Among the hundreds of whales that had been stranded on sandbanks on the shores of Macquarie Heads’ remote and protected forest area, only between 20 and 25 remain alive. At least 380 died, including four who had to be euthanized.
The race against time to try to save the animals continues, with more than 60 experts and volunteers involved in a mega operation that has lasted for four days.
Experts warn that if they are not saved within the next 24 hours, it is unlikely that the remaining whales in Australia will be able to survive.
As long as they are partially submerged, pilot whales – more resilient than other species – can survive for several days. In addition, the rain helped keep the animals wet and fresh, but many returned to swimming in shallow waters after being released.
Others resisted rescue efforts, which made it difficult to do an already complicated job: moving an animal that can weigh a ton and measuring six meters.
The fact that 380 dead and decaying animals are still stranded along the coast represents an environmental hazard that can create a serious problem in the oceans. Authorities are discussing a plan to deposit dead whales in the sea, an operation that could take days.
It is unclear what led such a large group to head to shallow waters, but pilot whales are social animals, so if one of them makes the mistake of getting too close to the coast, to feed or be disoriented due to illness , for example, is followed by others. Another possibility is to reach the coast attracted by the sonars of large ships.
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