Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service staff, along with colleagues from Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania (NRE Tas), volunteers and local aquaculture company personnel continue to rescue, re-float, and release whales today following the mass whale stranding near Strahan on Wednesday 21 September.
Aerial view of mass whale stranding near Macquarie Heads
Rescuers successfully released 32 pilot whales into deep water outside Macquarie Harbour yesterday. There were several re-strandings overnight, which can occur during a stranding response. The aim is to re-float and release the remaining live whales today. The cold and rainy conditions on the west coast today aid in keeping the animals comfortable.
Once the rescue stage is complete, the team will focus on the removal and disposal of about 200 deceased whales.
Rescue crews respond to the mass whale stranding
We once again thank the aquaculture companies who have assisted with vessels and a telehandler to help lift the whales. The equipment from these companies will also be used in moving the deceased whales, with an at-sea burial in deep waters the preferred option. Weather conditions will determine the timing for the removal and disposal operation.
Rescue crews use telehandler to load whales on a trailer during recovery
We also thank the community for the many offers of assistance received. More volunteers have not been required due to the small scale of the rescue with only low surviving numbers out of all the whales stranded.
A community meeting will be held tonight to inform residents and businesses about the stranding operation and for the community to ask questions.