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Stranding toll surges

Whales 5 The Advocate

The whale rescue tragedy continues to unfold on Tasmania's west coast, with another 200 pilot whales, most of them dead, discovered around 10 kilometres away from the initial stranding sites in Macquarie Harbour. 

It takes the stranding deathtoll to somewhere in the region of 300 animals out of a total of more than 450.

Rescuers took around 30 pilot whales off a sandbar and shepherded them out to sea on slings yesterday; however, a handful rebeached overnight. 

There are hopes more can be saved, given favourable tidal conditions and heavy rain on Tuesday night are likely to prolong their survival.   

Marine Conservation Program wildlife biologist Dr Kris Carlyon says it's been a challenging rescue.

"We can accept that we are going to lose some animals; this is such a tricky event, such a complex event, that any whale we save we are considering a win," he said. 

"Fatigue management is critical, so we are rotating crews those in-water roles and making sure they get plenty of time out of the water to regroup and rewarm." 

Image courtesy of the Advocate