Thursday, 12 May 2016

Wildlife officers search for rare whale stranded on Victorian beach

Severe weather and dangerous swells hamper search for 2.5m pygmy or dwarf sperm whale found at Logans Beach

Tuesday 10 May 201603.30 BSTLast modified on Tuesday 10 May 201604.25 BST

Wildlife officers are trying to find a small and rare whale that was found stranded at a Victorian beach on Monday evening, however their search efforts are being hampered by severe weather and dangerous swells.

The adult whale, about 2.5m long, was found at Logans Beach in Victoria’s south-west and rescuers believe it to be either a pygmy sperm whale or a dwarf sperm whale.

The whale was refloated but immediately stranded itself again. When rescuers returned to the beach to continue their rescue efforts on Tuesday morning, the whale could not be found.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning told Guardian Australia the search was made difficult by high winds, rough swells and high tides. If the whale is located, department wildlife officers will work with Melbourne Zoo and Melbourne Museum to decided the best course of action.

A senior wildlife emergencies project officer said the team’s strategy would be to stabilise the whale in shallow water so that a veterinary examination could occur.

“The fact that the whale re-stranded itself may be an indicator that the whale is not healthy and its stranding was not accidental,” she said.

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