Hervey Bay residents and local authorities hope they have saved a whale that beached itself on the Fraser Coast this morning.
- A dwarf minke whale washed up on Shelly Beach in Hervey Bay this morning
- Residents and local authorities performed a potentially life-saving rescue
- Experts say it was a rare stranding, with the species rarely seen in the Fraser Coast
The dwarf minke whale was spotted at sunrise and prompted a rapid response and rescue.
“We spent a few hours here.
“A large team from the Department of Parks and Wildlife, police, Hervey Bay surf lifesaving club, people from the whale watching industry rushed in to save the whale, which returned a couple of times after we got him out to sea.”
As at 10am Friday morning, the whale was back in the ocean.
“He had superficial wounds and he didn’t seem very alert, but he’s got the best chance now he’s back out in the water,” the Mayor said.
Early start to whale season
Rangers and vet specialists say the whale appeared to be in good condition after being kept cool and calm with wet sheets, but could not say why it was stranded at Shelly Beach.
Whale researcher Wally Franklin, from the Oceania Project, has studied whales in Hervey Bay for 30 years and said it was an unusual stranding.
“But it does occur. Over the years we’ve been involved in two minke strandings,” Dr Franklin said.
“They can come ashore if they are ill, they could be chased, or it may be a simple mistake.”
Dr Franklin said it was inevitable more strandings would occur this season, especially for humpbacks.
“We can expect to see more with the east coast population somewhere in the order of 40,000 individual whales,” he said.
Dr Franklin said the first humpback sighting of the year had been early in May and the main flow of whales off the Fraser Coast would be from July to early November.
Whale well on its way home
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service senior ranger Daniel Clifton said the 4.6 metre whale was doing well in deeper water.
“I’ve just come back after being on the boat following the animal for a couple of hours and in the end we lost sight of it, which is a good sign,” he said.
The department has encouraged anyone who spots a stranded whale, alive or dead, to call 1300 130 372.
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