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Fly Neighbourly Advice for the Tasman National Park


Public comment is invited on the draft Tasman National Park Fly Neighbourly Advice. The draft Fly Neighbourly Advice has been prepared by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service in response to increasing air traffic over the Tasman National Park.More

Hybrid diesel-electric shuttle buses at Cradle Mountain - a first for National p


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AFAC Independent Operational Review of the 2018-19 bushfires


Following the 2018-19 bushfires the Tasmanian Government commissioned an independent report by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Council to review the overall response and identify areas where more can be done to improve the State's response andMore

Cooperative effort to free remaining trapped whales


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.