A single large male killer whale found stranded at Badger Beach in northern Tasmania has died, despite frantic efforts to save it.
The adult male, which weighed several tons, became stranded on Badger Beach near the mouth of the Tamar River on Saturday.
In a statement released on Sunday morning, the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) confirmed the whale did not survive despite a “mammoth rescue effort and a very challenging situation”.
Rachael Alderman, manager of the DPIPWE Wildlife Management Branch, said a team of DPIPWE staff and volunteers “worked all day and into the night to maintain the whale and dig a channel through the shallow sloping beach in the hope the animal could gain access to deeper water on the high tide”.
“This individual weighed several tonnes and the team had to grapple with very difficult environmental conditions,” she said.
Dr Alderman said investigations will continue as biologists collect follow-up information that may reveal why the whale stranded and died.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
Although killer whales are often sighted in Tasmanian waters, it is rare for them to become stranded.
Any strandings or entanglements of whales around the Tasmanian coastline should be reported to the DPIPWE whale hotline 0427 WHALES.
DPIPWE said real-time reporting of sightings and strandings was vital for “rapid and effective response to incidents”.