Over a dozen whales have perished and washed ashore on King Island’s beaches north of Tasmania, leaving wildlife experts scratching their heads.
The carcasses were first reported by locals on Monday afternoon, Tasmania’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment revealed.
Parks and Wildlife Services staff are on site monitoring the situation. No exact reason has been given for the strange event, which is currently being investigated by marine scientists.
“It is possible the whales were part of the same bachelor pod – a group of younger male sperm whales associating together after leaving the maternal group,” a department spokesperson said.
“Members of the public are reminded it is an offence to interfere with protected wildlife, including being in possession of parts of a dead whale, and are asked to keep their distance.
“We simply do not know why this happens,” wildlife scientist Vanessa Pirotta said via the ABC. “That‘s the million-dollar question every time this kind of event happens.”
“There could be something else that might have driven them to the area, we just don‘t know.
“But the key thing here is that any stranding can contribute to science.
“Now authorities will undertake a necropsy, which is an animal autopsy, to try and understand what these animals might have been up to, but also to learn more about them.”
The stranding comes almost exactly two years after 470 whales were washed up off Tasmania’s west coast, marking the nation’s biggest ever rescue mission.
The majority of the whales were discovered at Liberty Bay.
Rescue teams managed to free 25 of the 270 whales stranded on sandbars off Strahan, but a small number attempted to return to their pods and re-beached themselves.
Despite gallant efforts, more than a third of the pilot whales died before rescuers could get to them.
Originally published as Horrific scene as 14 sperm whale carcasses wash up on King Island, Tasmania
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