Our Latest News

Exciting new proposal for Tasmania's South East Cape

16/10/2017

Award-winning local tourism operator Ian Johnstone can now progress a new project to lease and licence negotiations under the Tourism Opportunities in Tasmania's National Parks, Reserves and Crown Land process.More

Wineglass Bay track upgrade complete

16/10/2017

One of Tasmania's most iconic tourism experiences, the walk to Wineglass Bay from the lookout to the beach, has now re-opened after a $500,000 upgrade initiated through the Government's Tourism Infrastructure in Parks fund.
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Tourism opportunity for Tasman Island

12/10/2017

Tourists could soon enjoy the beautiful Tasman National Park from the air, as a change to the management plan could open it up for sensitive and appropriate aircraft access.More

Cooperative effort to free remaining trapped whales

14/11/2011

DPIPWE crews are continuing to work with personnel from Macquarie Harbour salmonid farms to free the remaining three whales trapped inside Hells Gates on Tasmania’s West Coast.


Crews made another early start on day three of the rescue operation buoyed by Sunday’s effort which resulted in two sperm whales being shepherded through the treacherous 25 metre entrance of Macquarie Harbour and into the open sea.


Two deceased minke whales have been found in Macquarie Harbour this morning. One of them, a five-metre whale, is the animal discovered yesterday. The other deceased animal was smaller at three metres.


Public interest in the event is intense and Incident controller Chris Arthur has been bombarded by media calls since stranding was first reported on Saturday.


Between 6am and 8.30 am this morning he had completed seven interviews and calls continue to come in from interstate and overseas as well as from local news outlets.


In between these commitments he juggled a 7.30am briefing session for crews before they hit the water in six vessels in less than ideal conditions.


About 25 DPIPWE staff from Parks and the Resource Management and Conservation branch are focusing their efforts in the water and on Ocean Beach where samples are being taken of 22 deceased sperms.


Chris said valuable lessons learned from a stranding of sperm whales in Macquarie Harbour in 2007 are assisting the current mission.


“The rescue crews are doing a great job using techniques that have been perfected over many years,” he said.


“Fortunately we have had tremendous assistance from the Petuna and Tassal fish farms and their shallow-draught jetboats have been able to get close to the stranded whales. Their engines create a water surge and break the suction created between the whales and sand.


 “Once an animal is dislodged, a specially-developed net attached to two boats is slipped under the whale enabling it to be hauled from immediate danger. This method is particularly suitable for large animals such as the two-tonne sperm whales we are dealing with.”


Chris said the system proves the value of learning from past stranding situations and maintaining a knowledge base and science to assist animals in distress.”


Once an animal is dislodged from the sand and is mobile, it is herded towards Macquarie Harbour’s deep water channel and then to the open ocean via the tricky entrance at Hells Gates. To keep the whale on track, crews create engine wake and “walls of sound” by banging the side of the boats.  


While time is of the essence, the surviving minke whale and two sperm whales are in reasonable condition and, managed properly, could survive another few days in the harbor.

Cooperative effort to free remaining trapped whales

Incident controller Chris Arthur talks whales during a phone interview with the media.

Cooperative effort to free remaining trapped whales

Natasha Norman prepares lunch for the boat crews.

Cooperative effort to free remaining trapped whales

Mike Greenwood briefs boat crews for the day ahead.

Cooperative effort to free remaining trapped whales

Steve Mansfield and James Grey tag a deceased sperm whale on ocean beach.

Cooperative effort to free remaining trapped whales

Rescue boats at work in Macquarie Harbour with two sperm whales.