After the stranding of nearly 500 pilot whales on the australian island of tasmania, rescuers have been able to free more animals.
So far, 94 of a total of about 470 sea suckers have been rescued and brought to deeper waters, the responsible authority announced. The number of pilot whales that have died is now given as 350, whereas initially there had been talk of an estimated 380. Twelve to 20 animals were still on a sandbank in the morning. Rescuers now hope to save these last remaining whales.
About 470 pilot whales were stranded this week in several places in macquarie bay in the west of the island. Rescue efforts have been underway for four days. Six animals were freed by rescuers on friday morning.
On monday, some 270 stranded pilot whales were discovered at three sites in remote macquarie bay, with about a third of them already dead. Two days later, a second group of around 200 stranded animals was found just a few kilometers away.
The mass stranding is the largest ever in australia. It exceeds the number of pilot whales that beached themselves on the west coast in 1996 (about 320). Whales strand off tasmania quite frequently, but usually far fewer animals are affected. Last a smaller group of pot whales had come to the coast in the area. The reasons for this are often unknown. But experts suspect that the animals are drawn toward the coast in search of food.