Fatal whale strandings' silver lining

Author
Dylan Moran and Laura Heathcote,
Publish Date
Mon, 16 Feb 2015, 5:34AM
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Fatal whale strandings' silver lining

Author
Dylan Moran and Laura Heathcote,
Publish Date
Mon, 16 Feb 2015, 5:34AM

A silver lining for conservationists, after a mass stranding of pilot whales at Farewell Spit.

At least 70 died at the weekend, despite the best efforts of hundreds of volunteers to re-float them.

DOC's Andrew Lamason says the dead whales will be tethered in the surf, allowing bird and marine life to help dispose of them.

He says the method is new, and it's been recently tried on sperm whales... even helping to attract rare birds.

"We've had these giant petrels which are normally down in Antarctic and sub-Antarctic.

"They've got a real good sense of smell so they came up and they've parked up on the spit and they've been feeding off the sperm whales."

Andrew Lamason says in the past, dead whales have been buried, but their body oils don't break down, which affects nearby plant life.

"As al the oil comes out, it just kills off any plants around it, kills off the soil, it seals it all up with the fat and we've got some there that have been buried in 1994 - they're essentially still there."