Mission to save Stranded Whales

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Fifteen pilot whales are dead and rescuers are attempting to save 12 more in a mass stranding in North Western Tasmania.

Parks And Wildlife staff rushed to Ocean Beach at Strahan at about 11.30am (AEDT) today after fishermen reported the stranding on a 150 metre stretch of beach.

Details are still scant, but Department of Primary Industries and Water spokesman Warwick Brennan said the rescue was expected to continue into the night.

“Parks And Wildlife service staff are on site and marine conservation officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Water are on the way to the stranding,” he said.

“The priority is to stabilise the animals that are still alive,” Mr Brennan said. “From there, we’ll develop a plan to get them back in the water.

“A lot will depend on weather conditions.”

Mr Brennan would not rule out an attempt to refloat the whales overnight.

Mr Brennan said conditions on the beach had deteriorated during the afternoon and were not currently suitable for refloating the pod.

Pilot whales stranding are common in Tasmania. More than 70 whales died in the last mass stranding at Marion Bay in Southern Tasmania in October last year.

Another pod stranded on King Island and Maria Island in Bass Strait in 2004.

Mr Brennan says there are no signs of other whales in the area of Ocean Beach.