Tragic scenes as at least 14 rare sperm whales are found DEAD and covered in blood in a mysterious mass stranding on a remote part of the Australian coast
- At least 14 sperm whales have died after they became stranded on King Island
- The whales were young males washed ashore on Monday afternoon
- A plane will fly over the island to check if any more whales are stranded
At least 14 sperm whales have died after they became stranded on King Island, off Tasmania’s north-west coast, in a marine mystery that’s baffled experts.
The whales washed ashore and were discovered on Monday afternoon, according to Tasmania’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
The department confirmed on Tuesday the carcasses were found at a local fishing spot.
At least 14 sperm whales have died after they washed ashore on King Island (picture courtesy of NRE Tas)
The whale carcasses were found at a local fishing area off the island’s west coast on Monday (picture courtesy of NRE Tas)
A plane is scheduled to fly over the island to check for more beached whales.
Wldlife scientist Vanessa Pirotta said what caused the whales to head towards the shore remained ‘a complete mystery’.
‘We simply do not know why this happens,’ she told the 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 navigation error, or the group following one whale heading towards the shore.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environment said it was not unusual to see sperm whales in the area.
‘It is not unusual for sperm whales to be sighted in Tasmania and the area the whales have stranded is within the normal range and habitat for sperm whales,’ a spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.
‘While further inquiries are yet to be carried out, it is possible the whales were part of the same bachelor pod – a group of younger male sperm whales associating together after leaving the maternal group.’
Wildlife scientist Vanessa Pirotta said what caused the whales to head towards the shore remained ‘a complete mystery’ but a navigation error was a possibility
The whales were young males, according to Tasmania’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment
MCP wildlife biologists and a vet are heading to King Island to investigate. They will perform a necropsy and collect samples
MCP wildlife biologists and a vet are heading to the island to investigate. They will perform a necropsy where possible and collecting valuable samples.
Parks and Wildlife Service staff are also on site monitoring the scene.
Residents have been advised to stay away from the area.
‘Members of the public are reminded it is an offence to interfere with protected wildlife, including being in possession of 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 whale carcasses can attract sharks.
The department said it was not unusual to see sperm whales off the coast of King Island
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