(ANIMAL WELFARE) TASMANIA — Four whales are fighting for their lives in Tasmania, an island off Australia. Sixteen other sperm whales were recently beached and didn’t survive because of conditions that prevented human aid attempts. Read on for what the West Coast Parks and Wildlife Service is attempting to do to save these beached whales. — Global Animal
Four beached whales are struggling for survival in Tasmania. Photo credit: coastalcare.org

Tim Wall, Discovery News

Four sperm whales on the coast of Tasmania struggle for survival after a beaching killed 16 of their cohorts and conditions prevented human rescue efforts, reported the Mercury.

“The water levels were much too high and the surf was incredibly rough, making it impossible to attempt any rescue,”  West Coast Parks and Wildlife Service parks and reserves manage Chris Arthur told the Sunday Tasmanian.

The stranding occurred at Ocean Beach on the west coast of Tasmania. The area is a common site of whale beachings and unprotected from the harsh conditions of the “Roaring Forties” the westerly wind that blows around Antarctica at about 45 degrees South latitude.

“We don’t know why, but there are several locations in the world where whale strandings occur frequently and Ocean Beach is one of them,” Arthur said.

Arthur’s team is currently monitoring eight whales in another notorious Tasmanian whale trap, Macquarie Harbor. Four are stranded on the Frazer Flats Sandbar within the harbor.

“Rescue operations are expected to last at least four or five days, but we will do our best to ensure these whales have the best chance at survival,” said Arthur.

“The incredible size and weight of the sperm whales does make it difficult, but our major concern is the water conditions at this stage,” Arthur said.

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  1. Whale strandings often occur as a result of an injured whale taking refuge in shallower waters where they inadvertently wash onto shores too shallow. Because whales are cohesive creatures, others from a pod follow after hearing a distress call of the first beached whale. There isn’t necessarily any human cause that contributes to most mass strandings.