HOBART, Australia (AP) – A day after 230 whales were found stranded on the wild and remote west coast of Australia’s island state of Tasmania, only 35 were alive Thursday despite ongoing rescue efforts.

Tasmania’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment said half a pod of a pilot whale stranded in Macquarie Harbor was still alive on Wednesday.

But the shelling took its toll overnight, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service manager Brendan Clarke said.

“We have examined a total of animals as part of the initial assessment and we have identified the animals with the best chance of survival of the approximately 230 trapped. Today’s focus is on rescue and release operations. Gay,” Clarke told reporters in nearby Strahan.

Despite ongoing rescue efforts on Thursday, only 35 whales remained alive.

“We’ve got about 35 surviving animals on the beach … and the main focus this morning will be on rescuing and releasing those animals,” Clark added.

The whales were beached a day to two years after the largest mass stranding in Australian history was discovered in the same harbour.

On September 21, 2020, approximately 470 finned pilot whales were found stranded on sandbars. After a week-long effort, 111 of these whales were rescued, but the rest died.

The entrance to the harbor is a notoriously shallow and dangerous channel known as Hell’s Gate.

Local salmon farmer Linton Kringle helped with the 2020 rescue effort and said the latest challenge will be more difficult.

A photo taken on September 21, 2020 shows a pod of whales stranded on a sandbar in Macquarie Harbor on Tasmania's rugged west coast.  A marine wildlife scientist suggested that this may be the cause of the re-trapping. "Some environmental."
A photo taken on September 21, 2020 shows a pod of whales stranded on a sandbar in Macquarie Harbor on Tasmania’s rugged west coast. A marine wildlife scientist suggested that the repeated strandings could be due to “something environmental”.

“Last time they were actually in the harbor and it was pretty calm and we could deal with them there and we could get the boats to them,” Kringle said.

“But just on the beach, you can’t take a boat there — it’s too shallow, too rough. If we can’t get them out by swimming, my thoughts would be trying to get them in a car,” Kringle added.

Wildlife scientist Vanessa Perrotta, who specializes in marine mammals, said it was too early to tell why they were stranded.

“The fact that we’ve seen similar species at the same time, in the same place, the recurrence of trapping in the same place may give some indication that there’s something ecological going on,” Perrotta said. Can,” Perrotta said.

West Coast Council Municipality General Manager David Madsen urged people to stay clear.

“The fact that we’ve seen similar species at the same time, in the same place, reoccuring in terms of trapping in the same place may indicate that there may be something ecological going on.”

“The whale is a protected species, even once it dies, and it is a crime to interfere with the carcass,” the Department of Environment said.

Fourteen sperm whales were discovered on Monday afternoon on King Island, part of the state of Tasmania, in the Bass Strait between Melbourne and Tasmania’s north coast.

Griffith University marine scientist Olaf Manneck said sperm whales washing ashore are unusual. Warmer temperatures could also alter ocean currents and shift the whales’ traditional diet, he said.

“They will move to different areas and find different food sources,” Minek said. “When they do, they’re not in the best physical condition because they’re starving so they can take more risks and move closer to shore.”

Pilot whales are stranded in large numbers, for reasons that are not fully understood.

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