After the death of some 200 pilot whales on a beach in Tasmania, most of the carcasses have to be removed to the open sea. The process of decomposing the giant marine mammals on land is moving too slowly, Australian broadcaster ABC quoted a spokesman for authorities as saying on Friday. Exactly two years ago, when hundreds of whales stranded in the same bay on the west coast, emergency services had left most of the dead animals on the beach.
At the time, authorities had hoped for natural decomposition, “but that has not happened within a satisfactory time frame,” said Brendon Clark of the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service. The result: a terrible stench came from Ocean Beach at the time.
230 pilot whales stranded
About 230 pilot whales (also known as pilot whales) were stranded in remote Macquarie Bay on Wednesday. According to eyewitnesses, half of them were still alive. On Thursday morning this only applied to a few dozen animals. The helpers managed to take 32 of the peaceful giants – some weighing two and a half tons – into deep water with heavy equipment and boats. More than 200 dead marine mammals are still on the beach, which now have to be released into the ocean.
To prevent the carcasses from washing up again later, they are brought to the edge of the continental shelf, which forms the transition to the deep sea. This is about 40 kilometers from the coast. The animals were pulled into the ocean with lines attached to boats, it said.
Surviving animals tried to swim back to the group
Two of the whales originally rescued have also now died after ten animals returned to shore – a characteristic feature of pilot whales that makes rescuing stranded animals a major challenge.
The marine mammals form a very close bond with each other within their group. After mass strandings, surviving specimens often try to swim back to their friends and family.