Stranded Killer Whale Dies After Extensive Rescue Attempt in Northern Tasmania
Updated: Feb 5, 2019
A large male killer whale became stranded early Saturday morning at Badger Beach, located close to the opening of the Tamar River.
Reported to the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) by passing members of the public, a large-scale excavation of the beach saw volunteers and staff work well into the night in attempts to rescue the helpless whale.
Channels were dug with machinery and bare hands in hopes that the several-tonne whale might find its way back to deeper water, around 11 pm at high tide.
Although unsuccessful in saving the creature, manager of DPIPWE’s Wildlife Management Branch Dr Rachel Alderman stated that given “the very difficult environmental conditions [it was] a mammoth rescue effort and a very challenging situation”.
Biologists have collected relevant samples that may reveal the reason as to why the creature became beached in the first place, and Dr Alderman thanked all involved in the operation who “worked so hard to provide a rapid response and critical care for the animal”.
It is apparent that in the last 20 years, there have been no more than five reports of stranded killer whales in Tasmania. Plausible reasons for this range from following prey too close to shallow water, or in this particular case, “some underlying health issue” stated Dr Alderman.
Whale activity and sighting can be reported to DPIPWE’s whale hotline on 0427WHALES.
Published locally on Saturday 19th January 2019
Copyright © Will Boddy 2019