Reply To: Whales in Tasmania – 10/25/2005

November 22, 2013 at 3:27 am #1071

from bridget – 10/29/2005
Hi All
this statement:"’It’s a very common area for strandings,’" is so
broad, it practically is without meaning. I must guess this is the
standard ‘party line’ response; a reguritation of words? That is my
If it is so commonly understood and accepted, one would think the
journalist might add some dates and figures.
The media is without one thinking individual. I know, gag order and
all of that, but self preservation should kick-in here pretty soon.

Investigation called after mass whale deaths
The Australian Greens party has called for the Federal Government to
investigate whether a Navy operation triggered the mass stranding of
130 pilot whales off Tasmania. A huge effort is now underway to bury
the carcasses of the whales, which beached themselves in Marion Bay
in the southern Australian state earlier this week.

Officials said the stranding was probably caused by the whales
becoming disorientated in ‘confusing coastal waters’. However,
Tasmanian Greens senator Christine Milne has called for the
country’s defence minister Robert Hill to investigate the proximity
of Navy sonar ships when the mass stranding happened.

‘It’s well known and quite well established that naval exercises
using mid frequency or low frequency sonar do have a negative impact
on whales, killing them in some cases, and also disrupting their
ability to navigate,’ Milne told Australia’s ABC News.

The Australian Navy denied its vessels were in the area at the time
of the strandings. It also said its mine hunters, which were taking
part in an exercise off Tasmania, had now returned to Melbourne.

‘From my understanding the whales would have been beached before the
naval vessels were even in the vicinity of Marion Bay,’ said Navy
commander George Sydney.

Mark Pharaoh of the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, said it
was unclear what happened, but believed complex topography of the
area was probably to blame for the incident. He said the large bay
has frequently changing water depths, sandy spits and rocky
outcrops, as well as narrow opening to the ocean.

‘It’s a very common area for strandings,’ said Pharaoh. ‘The most
common belief here is that, since these strandings are so regular,
it’s basically difficult country for a whale to navigate in.’

Wildlife officials and volunteers saved about 19 of the whales, but
the 110 who died are being buried. Scientists have taken samples
from the carcasses in an attempt to find out why the whales beached.