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Explore Three Capes this August


Tasmania's award-winning Three Capes Track has been a runaway hit with walkers, with more than 28,000 local, national and international visitors completing it since it opened in December 2015.More

Flags fly at Mount Nelson once again


Tasmania's first signal station has been restored more than 200 years since it began operation on Mount Nelson.

Southwest ecological burns important for orange-bellied parrot conservation


Planned ecological burns in Southwest National Park will help regenerate important habitat areas for the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot.More

Mystery of Risso's dolphin strandings continues


The mystery of multiple strandings of Risso’s dolphins on Australia’s eastern seaboard continues with another Risso’s dolphin being found dead at a remote part of Reidle Bay on Maria Island.

Maria Island senior ranger Pete Lingard and DPIPWE Marine Conservation Program wildlife officer Kris Carlyon attended the dead dolphin on Monday to carry out a comprehensive necropsy of the animal while it was still in good condition.

There have been 12 stranding events, involving 13 animals on Tasmania’s shores, since November 2014. This is unprecedented in Tasmania, as prior to this summer only one stranded animal had been reported in Tasmania. The majority of dolphins have been dead when first found, or have died soon after stranding.

Similar strandings of Risso’s dolphins during this period have been recorded on the eastern seaboard and Marine Conservation Program staff are working with counterparts in New South Wales and Victoria to investigate and share information.

Kris said Risso’s dolphins are regularly seen in waters off southern New South Wales at this time of year, usually 12 to 20 nautical miles offshore, so to have them so close to shore and stranding is unusual.

Marine Conservation Program staff have been gathering information by taking a range of biological samples from the stranded animals. A selection of samples have been sent to the DPIPWE Mt Pleasant laboratory for examination.  To date, there have been no consistent findings, however important information and additional samples have been collected for future testing.

Kris said that changing environmental conditions may be a cause for the Risso's dolphins moving to inshore Tasmanian waters.

“Exactly why they are here, why they are so close to shore and why they are dying, are the unanswered questions,” he said.

Mystery of Risso

The 3.4 metre Risso's dolphin at Reidle Bay on Maria Island.

Mystery of Risso

The body scarring on the Risso's dolphin is an intriguing feature that is consistent with other Risso's found recently.