Australia: 14 sperm whales found dead after being stranded

Australian biologists and veterinarians were mobilized on Wednesday September 21 to find the reason behind the stranding of 14 sperm whales found dead on a beach in Tasmania. The 14 mammals were found dead on King Island earlier this week, off the northern coast of Tasmania. Experts from the state conservation agency were dispatched to the scene to investigate. No other sperm whales have been identified in the area, according to aerial surveys.

The cause of death is still unclear at this time. It can be a “misadventure”, as biologist Kris Carlyon of the island state’s conservation agency told the local newspaper Mercury. This is “the most common reason for strandings”he explains. “They may have been looking for food near the shore (…) they may have been caught at low tide”according to Kris Carlyon. “That’s the theory for now”. The sperm whales were likely beached on Sunday, before being discovered on Monday, he said.

470 whales stranded in 2020

In 2020, Tasmania experienced its worst marine stranding: 470 whales stranded west of the state. More than 300 pilot whales lost their lives during this stranding, despite the efforts of a dozen volunteers who tried for several days in the freezing waters of Tasmania to free them. The stranding of marine mammals remains a mystery to this day. The reasons can be multiple, and for some caused by the human being. But some experts have speculated that the whales in the 2020 stranding may have gotten lost after feeding close to shore or following a stray whale or two.

SEE ALSO – A humpback whale of almost ten meters runs aground on a beach in Pas-de-Calais

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