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New lease of life for original lighthouse vents

15/05/2018

As part of the ongoing conservation of the Cape Bruny and Maatsuyker Island lighthouses, a team effort has been underway to restore the original bronze vents from the lighthouses' lantern rooms.More

Record visitor numbers at Highfield Historic Site

09/05/2018

Visitation numbers at Highfield Historic Site in Stanley have reached a record high, with 12,535 people visiting in the 12 months ending March 2018.More

Cradle Mountain shuttle bus tender awarded

08/05/2018

A new bus fleet featuring environmentally friendly technology and vehicles with improved accessibility and increased capacity will help to meet increasing visitor numbers following the awarding of the tender to McDermott Coaches.More

False Killer Whale

Drawing by Graham Sanders
False Killer Whales have a long slender dark grey/black body with a lighter blaze between the flippers and sometimes on the sides of the head. They have a rounded overhanging forehead (melon) without beak and in the male the upper jaw overhangs the lower jaw as the melon is further forward. They have a slender, sickle-shaped dorsal fin with rounded tip. The flippers have a characteristic hump on the leading edge. They are similar in size to the Pilot Whale with males reaching 6m and females 5m in length. They form socially cohesive pods including both males and females usually of about 20-100 animals although larger groupings of up to 800 have been spotted chasing prey in deeper water. They generally occur off the continental shelf and prefer warmer waters. They are most likely to be spotted closer to Tasmania's coastline during winter. They may sometimes be seen with Bottle-nosed Dolphins.

General Information

Distribution map of sightings and strandings (click to enlarge)
False Killer Whales feed on fish and squid. They can reach up to 60 years in age with calves born about every 5-8 years. Calves are between 1-2m at birth and are weaned at around 2 years of age. They occur worldwide.

Stranding Information

False Killer Whales are a frequent mass strander and have stranded in all Australian coastal states with the majority being in Western Australia then Tasmania and New South Wales. In Tasmania slightly over half the strandings recorded have been single dead specimens. However, at least 9 mass strandings have been recorded with an average of just under 60 animals. One Tasmanian stranding of False Killer Whales also involved Long-finned Pilot Whales and Killer Whales. Their rescue needs to be staged in the same way as for Pilot whales with all the healthy members of the pod being refloated together.