50 Sperm whales die after stranding in Tasmania

20090129-tasmania-spermwhalesTasmania, 29 January 2009 – The Sperm whales, which were mostly mothers and calves, stranded on Perkins Island, a remote island off Tasmania’s north-west corner. A few of the whales survived for a day or two on the beach, but it proved impossible to help any of the animals.

Wildlife officials stated that it was very difficult for their rescue team to reach the pod due to their inaccessible location, which can only be reached by boat.

The shear size of the whales, mostly weighing between 13 and 20 tons, places a lot of pressure on their internal organs as they are not designed for supporting their weight out of the water. Sperm whales have been successfully rescued in the past, but the shallow water at the site and the weight of the animals made this outcome inevitable.

Mass strandings
Mass stranding of whales occur periodically all over the world, though Tasmania does seem particularly susceptible, for reasons that are not entirely understood. Around 150 long-finned pilot whales died in a mass stranding off Tasmania’s west coast in November.

melding: Jan Haelters, BMM