This is how scientists explain the mass death of whales

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Since Monday, hundreds of humpback whales have been found stranded on the west coast of the island of Tasmania, Australia. This seems to be the largest stranding they have seen, where close to 400 whales have so far been found dead, reports the BBC.

Extensive rescue operation

On Wednesday night, the rescue crews had managed to save 50 whales, and the authorities state that they will continue the rescue operation “as long as there are animals that are still alive”.

– As long as they are in the water and alive, there is still hope for them. But eventually they will be exhausted, says Nic Deca, regional manager of Tasmania’s park and wildlife service to the broadcasting company.

The whales that are still alive are assisted by a team of 60 people. They place the whales in the water, and guide them back to the depths of the sea.

Mysterious deaths

This breed is known to be particularly vulnerable to such mass stranding, but it is still unclear why it happens.

A whale that was rescued on September 22. Photo: Handout / Tasmania police / AFP

Researchers have come up with a number of theories, including about whales being lured by fish and ending up disoriented.

The humpback whale is a social mammal in the dolphin family, and it is known to travel over large distances in groups. Another theory is therefore that they follow one of the leaders, who then accidentally leads the whole group to the coast.

They are particularly vulnerable near the coast, where they have great difficulty in detecting the coastline

The humpback whale is not considered endangered, although it is unknown how many there are.

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