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Hundreds of whales stranded in Tasmania

Stranded pilot whales are seen in Macquarie Heads /Reuters

Hundreds of whales stranded in Tasmania

Over 270 whales have been stranded on a sandbar off the remote west coast of Tasmania.

Hundreds of whales stranded in Tasmania

Government scientists said it appeared that at least 25 of the animals, believed to be pilot whales, had already died. Pilot whales are a species of oceanic dolphin that grows 7 metres (23 ft) long and can weigh up to 3 tonnes.

Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment said the whales were stranded in three groups in shallow water at Macquarie Heads, some 200 km (124 miles) northwest of the state capital Hobart.

Rescue operations underway

Marine Conservation Program Wildlife Biologist, Dr. Kris Carylon says “So triage is going to be quite important here. We’ve got animals spread over a large area in a really challenging location, so we’re gonna basically take the animals with the best chance to start with. And the ones that we’re able to deal with so, some animals may be simply too big or in an unsuitable location to actually deal with, so there’ll be a little bit of triage involved.”

Rescue operates began today. Dr. Carylon said “So it’s likely to take days, we’ll have a good idea hopefully by the end of the day, exactly what’s possible and potentially be able to predict how we’re gonna go, how we’re gonna track, for the rest of the operation.”

Rescuers are planning to refloat a few of the whales and to observe the animals behaviour once they have water underneath them again, before determining the next steps.

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