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Australia: Race against time to save last cetaceans stranded on beaches

Australia: Race against time to save last cetaceans stranded on beaches

Australian rescuers on Friday tried to refloat the last pilot dolphins stranded on a Tasmanian beach where more than 200 of their fellow dolphins had already died.

Fewer than a dozen of these shiny black mammals are still alive, state wildlife services said Friday.

“The priority is to rescue and refloat animals that are still alive” and those that get stranded again on the beach, Brendan Clarke, head of the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, underlined.

He told reporters at the scene that the three pilot whales could not be reached yet because they were too far from shore and because of rough waves.

The next step, he described, was the disposal of the corpses.

About 30 pilot whales refloated Thursday, but a few stranded Ocean Beach a second time.

On Wednesday, around 230 mammals were found on the beach, and since then, rescue workers and residents have been mobilizing to save them.

Macquarie Harbour, where the event took place, was the scene of another mass stranding almost two years to the day involving nearly 500 pilot dolphins.

Despite the efforts of dozens of volunteers who struggled for days in Tasmania’s freezing waters to free the animals, more than 300 of them died.

The causes of these major fibers are not fully understood.

Researchers have suggested that they may be caused by groups of cetaceans straying after feeding too close to shore.

These pilot whales, which can grow up to six meters in length, are extremely sociable animals that can follow their group members when they get lost and in danger.

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