Race against time to save the last cetaceans stranded on an Australian beach – World

Australian rescuers were trying this Friday to refloat the last pilot dolphins who survived after stranding on a beach in Tasmania where more than 200 of their congeners have already perished. Fewer than a dozen of these shiny black mammals are still alive, state wildlife services said Friday.

“The priority remains to save and refloat the animals that are still alive” and those who are stranded again on the coast, underlined Brendon Clark, manager at the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. Three pilot whales could not yet be reached because they were too far from shore and because of difficult tidal conditions, he told reporters at the scene. The next step, he detailed, will be to remove the carcasses. Some 30 pilot whales were refloated on Thursday, but a few were stranded a second time on Ocean Beach.

A massive stranding in 2020

On Wednesday, around 230 mammals were found on the beach and since then, rescuers and residents have been mobilizing to save them. Macquarie Harbour, where this phenomenon took place, was the scene almost two years ago to the day of another massive stranding, involving nearly 500 pilot dolphins. More than 300 of them were then dead, despite the efforts of dozens of volunteers who struggled for days in the freezing waters of Tasmania to free the animals.

Authorities have begun evacuating the carcasses. (Glenn Nicholls/AFP)

The causes of these major strandings are not fully known. Researchers have suggested they could be caused by groups of cetaceans straying after feeding too close to shore. These pilot whales, which can grow up to six meters, being very sociable animals, they can follow members of their group who get lost and find themselves in danger.

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