Australia’s Mass Moving of Whale Carcasses


Cullen Langley, Writer

On Monday, hundreds of whales turned up on Tasmania’s beach’s. Tasmania is an island state of Australia, and is 240 kilometers, or 149, miles off the coast of mainland Australia. There were 470 whales in this pod. The type of whale that beached are pilot whales. They are known to do mass beachings and are about 22 feet long and weigh up to three tonnes. This is the largest mass beaching in Australia’s history. The previous record had been 320 whales in 1996 in Western Australia. By Thursday rescuers had taken 90 whales off the beach. The other 380 whales had died in the process.

Mike Double, a zoologist that leads the Australian Marine Mammal Centre said, “For large whales, very sadly, it could take weeks for them to die, and they get blistered in the sun, so you would be thinking about an ethical and humane thing to do,”. Large whales would require large amounts of potassium chloride as a euthanasia agent to kill them or would require explosives. The smaller whales were shot with firearms. The toll on the rescuers was also significant.  “Most crew are really focused on just getting the job done, so it might be a little bit later that they start to really think about it, and it starts to sink in,” the department’s wildlife biologist Kris Carlyon said. The rescue efforts were being hampered by a strong tide that was bringing whales that had already been freed back to the shore. “Geographically it’s quite a challenging area. It’s sort of inside an actual harbour so we’ve got several boats and hundreds of people on the ground preparing the whales in slings,” Tom Mountney, a fisherman helping with the rescue operation, told BBC World Service radio. Scientists have many theories as to why whales beach themselves but it is still largely unknown. One of the most prominent theories is that since whale travel in tight knit communities it is possible for one whale to be beached and the others follow after it also getting beached. The project is projected to end on Friday with the hopeful rescue of as many whales as possible.

Where I found my info:,beached%20on%20Tasmania’s%20west%20coast.&text=It%20is%20not%20fully%20understood%20why%20the%20whales%20became%20stranded