More than a dozen whales have perished and washed ashore on the shores of King Island, north of Tasmania, leaving wildlife experts baffled.
The bodies were first reported by local residents on Monday afternoon, Tasmania’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment revealed.
Parks and Wildlife Service personnel are on site to monitor the situation. No specific reason has been given for this strange event, which marine scientists are currently investigating.
“It is possible that the whales were part of the same bachelor room – a group of younger sperm whales banding together after leaving the maternal group,” a department spokesperson said.
Members of the public are reminded that interfering with protected wildlife, including possession of dead whale parts, is a crime, and they are asked to stay away from them.
“We simply don’t know why this is happening,” wildlife scientist Vanessa Perrotta told ABC. “That’s the million dollar question every time this type of event happens.”
“Something else could have pushed them into the area, we don’t know.
“But the main thing here is that any delinquency can contribute to science.
“The authorities will now conduct an autopsy, which is the autopsy of an animal carcass, to try to understand what these animals might be like, but also to learn more about them.”
The stranding operation comes exactly two years after 470 whales were washed off the west coast of Tasmania, marking the largest rescue mission in the country’s history.
The majority of whales have been discovered in Liberty Bay.
Rescue teams were able to free 25 of the 270 whales stranded on sandbars off Strahan, but a small number tried to get back on their antlers and brought back the beaches.
Despite brave efforts, more than a third of the pilot whales died before rescuers could reach them.
Originally published as a shocking scene in which 14 carcasses of a sperm whale were washed away on King Island, Tasmania