380 whales dead due to Mass Stranding in Australia

On September 23, 2020, around 380 whales died in southern Australia due to mass stranding. The complete pod of Pilot whales that were stuck in Macquarie Harbour have perished.


Mass Stranding of whales is a natural behaviour of whales that has been occurring in Australia and New Zealand. The reasons for mass stranding is still unknown. This is the highest largest mass stranding recorded in Tasmania, Australia. Tasmania is an island in the south of Australia.

The whales were stranded to a distance of 10 kilometres that made the rescue operations highly challenging. Still the conservationists, environmentalists rescued around 30 whales.

Mass Stranding

Whales generally move towards the shore when they are sick or due to bad weather, navigation errors, old age and also for hunting seals in the shore. It is a natural phenomenon. There are no connections to human activities and mass stranding of whales.

Majority of the mass stranding occur when their echolocation that they use to navigate does not work.

North Sea

Apart from Australia and New Zealand, mass stranding is also common in North Sea.

International Whaling Commission

It is an international body that governs scientific, commercial and aboriginal subsistence of whaling practices in the world. It provides conservation of whale stocks and also helps in orderly development of whaling industry.

There are two whale sanctuaries registered by the International Whaling Commission. They are

  • Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in Antarctica
  • Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary in Seychelles

How are mass stranded whales disposed?

Disposing the carcasses whales is a complicated task. Such huge dead corpses are difficult to move. Such carcasses should not be consumed as well as it causes health risks. Thus, the dead whales are often moved back to the sea far away from the shipping lanes and are allowed to decompose naturally.

Reasons for mass stranding

  • Changes in Weather
  • Poison from aquatic species
  • Changes in earth’s magnetic field. This interferes with biological navigation of whales and leads to their lose of sense in direction.
  • Natural diseases and sickness
  • When attacked by sharks and other killer whales




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