A new technique for refloating and release of stranded sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus)

  • Published source details Thalmann S., Gales R., Greenwood M. & Gedamke J. (2008) A new technique for refloating and release of stranded sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). Marine Mammal Science, 24, 949-955.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Rescue and release stranded or trapped marine and freshwater mammals

Action Link
Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation
  1. Rescue and release stranded or trapped marine and freshwater mammals

    A study in 2007 in an inlet of the Indian Ocean, west Tasmania (Thalmann et al. 2008) found that seven stranded sperm whales Physeter macrocephalus were successfully rescued and released. Seven male sperm whales found stranded in shallow water were successfully rescued and released back into the sea within 1–4 days of stranding. All seven whales were observed swimming away after release, although long-term survival was not reported. Five other sperm whales that stranded on the same day died before rescue could be attempted. On 7 March 2007, seven whales (11–15 m long) were found stranded in shallow water (approximately 1 m deep) separated from a deep channel by a sand bar. Wet sheets were placed over the whales and respiration rates monitored during rescue. Two of the seven whales were moved back into deep water using jet wash propulsion. The other five whales were re-floated and released using a modified panel-shaped net (20 m long x 4.5 m deep) towed between two vessels. Vessel engine noises and acoustic devices were used to deter released whales from the stranding site and direct them out to sea.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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