Mass whale stranding at Strahan "impossible" to stop, says wildlife biologist on the scene

Picture: Brodie Weeding
Picture: Brodie Weeding

It's "impossible" to prepare for or stop whale stranding events says Marine Conservation Program wildlife biologist Kris Carlyon.

Dr Carlyon admitted the "sad reality" at a press conference at Strahan, on Tasmania's west coast, standing only kilometres from about 470 pilot whales stranded in Macquarie Harbour.

"This is a natural event ... we know strandings occurred prior to humans," he said.

"We do step in and respond but as far as being able to prevent these, there's very little we can do."

Picture: Brodie Weeding

Picture: Brodie Weeding

He said the main reason for stepping in was to do with animal welfare.

"We've got the ability to relieve those animal welfare issues," he said.

"Euthanasia is always an option... It's not a simple practice.

"We're not at a stage where we're considering euthanasia. They're wet, they're cool, we're pushing ahead."

The statements came only hours after an additional pod of 200 stranded whales were discovered on Wednesday morning.

Parks and Wildlife regional manager Nic Deka said the pod had been detected by an infrared survey during an aerial recon.

"We sent them further into the harbour and they detected around about another 200 in a couple of bays probably 7-10 kms away," he said.

"Most appear to be dead.

"As we speak we've got a boat heading to do an assessment from the water."


He said the discovery had not been made earlier due to a number of reasons.

"It's a good distance from the stranding we've been focused on, and not necessarily in a place that is obvious for a stranding," he said.

"In that part of the harbour the water is a very dark tannin colour.

Picture: Brodie Weeding

Picture: Brodie Weeding

"We think potentially they stranded, washed back into the water and they washed back into the bay.

"We certainly going to do a more extensive search, our thoughts are that we probably won't find any more."

He said the rescue mission would likely have looked the same even if the team had found the pod earlier.

"I think our focus would have still been on that pod closer to the boat ramps

This story 'Impossible' to stop biggest whale stranding event in Tasmania first appeared on The Advocate.