Humpback whale survives stranding in East Gippsland
11 November, 2011
Another Humpback whale became stranded on a beach in East Gippsland yesterday. The 15 metre whale got stuck on the beach at Point Ricardo, between Marlo and Cape Conran and was reported by a member of the public.
DSE and Parks Victoria wildlife staff responded immediately and arrived in time to see the whale free itself and swim back out to sea.
DSE Senior Wildlife Manager, Charlie Franken said that at this time of year, Humpback whales are migrating along the east coast of Australia from calving grounds in Queensland to feeding grounds in Antarctica.
“Victoria usually has about four to seven whale or dolphin strandings per year, but we seem to be experiencing an unprecedented number of strandings in East Gippsland and around the country this season.
“The reasons why whales and dolphins become stranded are not fully understood, but there are many different possibilities.”
“The animals may be sick or dying when they are washed ashore. In rough seas, whales or dolphins may swim too close to the shore and become stranded. It is thought that the shape of the beach and coastline may sometimes contribute to strandings.”
DSE and Parks Victoria staff will monitor the coastline near Point Ricardo tonight and tomorrow to make sure the whale does not beach itself again.
Whale and dolphin strandings are listed as emergencies under the Emergency Management Act 1986.
Live whale or dolphin strandings are managed by DSE and supported by experts from zoos and research institutes.
Marine mammals are protected under law, and it is illegal for any member of the public to interfere with them on sea or land.
To report any whale or dolphin entanglements, injuries or strandings, call the Whale and Dolphin Emergency Hotline on 1300 136 017.