On Wednesday, 230 pilot whales stranded on Tasmania beach. This happened just days after 14 stranded sperm whales died around 170 miles north of the beach. While earlier reports stated that at least half of the stranded pilot whales were alive, only 35 remain alive now, according to the wildlife officials. Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service manager Brendon Clark said that their primary focus will be to save the remaining whales.
While this is a massive loss, it’s not the first of its kind. On September 21, 2020, almost 500 long-finned pilot whales were stranded on the same beach. Only 111 of them were rescued. According to salmon farmer Linton Kringle, the water was calmer and boats were able to come and help with that rescue. In this case, the water is too shallow and boats have no way of assisting with the rescue efforts.
Whale strandings are nothing new but to have one in the same location within two years is concerning. Vanessa Pirotta, a wildlife scientist, thinks that the strandings of the same species in the same location could be due to environmental. Marine scientist Olaf Meynecke said this could be due to the warmer temperatures and lack of food source. The whales could have been following their food source further out. If they are hungry and disoriented, it can lead them closer to shore.
Pilot whales are known for getting stranded on beaches and scientists are still not fully sure why. The 230 pilot whales stranded on Tasmania beach are not the first and surely will not be the last if our environment keeps changing.