A large male killer whale found stranded at Badger Beach on Saturday has died after a “mammoth” rescue effort by DPIPWE staff and volunteers.
Investigations will continue on Sunday as biologists collect information which might reveal why the animal became stranded – something rarely seen with killer whales.
Dr Rachel Alderman, DPIPWE wildlife management branch manager, said the team had worked all day and into Saturday night to maintain the whale and dig a channel through the shallow sloping beach so it could access deeper water at high tide.
“This individual weighed several tonnes and the team had to grapple with very difficult environmental conditions,” Dr Alderman said.
“The reason whales and dolphins strand are varied and often cannot be determined, however accidental stranding in shallow waters such as these while pursuing prey is a possibility or perhaps some underlying health issue.”
“I thank everyone for their help and hard work, including the member of public who reported the whale and the dedicated volunteers and staff who worked so hard to provide a rapid response and critical care for the animal.”
Killer whales have been sighted on numerous occasions in and around the Tamar River. In August 2017 a pod was spotted about 50 metres from the Bell Bay Wharf.
In November 2016, fisherman Jeremy Jackson observed orcas in the river between George Town and Low Head.
Members of the public who see any stranded or entangled whales around Tasmania should report them to the DPIPWE whale hotline 0427 WHALES.
The real-time reporting is vital for the rapid and effective response to incidents.