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Eco Friday>>>Whale stranding on Tasmanian beach

Picture Credit: Insider Website

Cetacean stranding, often referred to as beaching, is an occurrence when whales and dolphins become stuck on the ground, typically on a beach. Dehydration, collapsing under their own weight, or drowning when the blowhole is covered by high tide are the three main causes of death for beached whales. Cetacean stranding has been a problem ever since the beginning of time.

The west coast of Tasmania has a secluded beach in which more than 200 whales have been discovered stranded. Uncertain circumstances led the whales to beach on a sand flat near Macquarie Harbour's entrance, the same isolated area where Australia's biggest stranding happened two years ago.

14 young sperm whales were discovered dead on King Island in the Bass Strait on Tuesday. According to BBC, half of the pod of pilot whales is still living and the region is expecting rescuers.

According to a statement from Tasmania's Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the 230 whales were found on Wednesday, and experts were preparing to save them, but the procedure would be "complex" because of the location.

Approximately half of the animals seem to be alive. In an effort to preserve their lives, locals have been covering the stranded whales with blankets and dumping buckets of water on them. The state's environment department announced that experts in marine conservation were ready to travel to the area and would attempt to refloat any whales that were still in good enough health to live.

Pilot whales are extremely social mammals and are widely known for stranding in groups because they live in vast, closely knit colonies that depend on regular communication. A significant rescue effort was started in September 2020 after about 500 pilot whales became stranded in the same harbor. The pilot whales lost more than 380 of their lives, but roughly 100 appears to have done with the help of rescuers.

Vanessa Pirotta, a wildlife expert said, that the parallels between this stranding and the prior incident including the same species, location, and season are "rare" and alarming. She suggested that the whales might have "misnavigated," followed an ill or confused leader, or been shocked into shallower waters.

Changes in the ecosystem, water temperature, or prey habitats could affect whales as a result of climate change. However, she claims that the causes of whale strandings are still a "mystery," as is the reason Tasmania experiences so many of them.

In addition to the abundance of marine life in the area and the numerous currents that cross the land, more animals may result in more occurrences. She argues that the "huge island" could be a navigational challenge for animals that employ echolocation.

The issue also starts with people. A large portion of the injuries (and later deaths) that result in strandings are caused by fishing, pollution, ship impacts, and other factors. The primary human-made cause of death for cetaceans is entanglement in fishing lines. Humans ought to be aware of these issues and take the appropriate actions to lessen whale stranding.

Picture Credit: Website

September 23rd 2022| 09:16 AM

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