A massive beaching of whales has occurred in Macquarie Harbor near Strahan on Tasmania’s west coast.
Hundreds of whales are reportedly involved in the stranding.
It comes just a day after at least 14 sperm whales died after being stranded on King Island, off Tasmania’s northwest coast, in a marine mystery that has baffled experts.
The whales washed ashore and were discovered Monday afternoon, according to the Tasmania Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
The department confirmed on Tuesday that the carcasses were found at a local fishing spot.
At least 14 sperm whales have died after washing up on King Island (photo courtesy of NRE Tas)
The whale carcasses were found Monday in a local fishing area off the west coast of the island (photo courtesy of NRE Tas)
A plane is scheduled to fly over the island to check for more beached whales.
Wldlife scientist Vanessa Pirotta said the reason the whales went to shore remained “a complete mystery.”
“We just don’t know why this is happening,” she told ABC.
“That’s the million dollar question every time this kind of event happens.”
dr. Pirotta said the stranding could have been caused by a navigational error, or by the group following a whale heading toward shore.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environment said it was not uncommon to see sperm whales in the area.
“It is not uncommon for sperm whales to be sighted in Tasmania and the area where the whales are stranded is within normal range and habitat for sperm whales,” a spokesman told the Daily Mail Australia.
“While further research needs to be done, it’s possible the whales were part of the same bachelor group — a group of younger male sperm whales that interacted after they left the mother group.”
Naturalist Vanessa Pirotta said the reason the whales went to shore remained ‘a complete mystery’, but a navigational error was a possibility
The whales were young males, according to the Tasmania Department of Natural Resources and Environment
MCP wildlife biologists and a vet head to King Island to investigate. They will perform a necropsy and take samples
MCP wildlife biologists and a vet head to the island to investigate. They will perform an autopsy whenever possible and collect valuable samples.
Parks and Wildlife Service staff are also on site to monitor the scene.
Residents are advised to stay away.
“Members of the public are being reminded that it is an offense to disturb protected wildlife, including possessing parts of a dead whale, and are asked to keep their distance,” a spokesperson said.
Swimmers and surfers have also been warned to avoid the west coast of King Island, as the whale carcasses can attract sharks.
The department said it was not uncommon to see sperm whales off the coast of King Island