At least 380 whales die in mass stranding off Australian coast
"The good news is that we have saved 50."
At least 380 whales have died in a mass stranding off the Australian coast.
Almost the entire pod of long-finned pilot whales died after becoming stuck in Tasmania Macquarie Harbour on the west coast of the island.
Tasmania's Parks and Wildlife Service manager Nic Deka confirmed that while some of the whales were saved, most of the 460 large pod died.
"We have got a more accurate count and we can confirm that 380 whales are dead," he said. "There's around 30 left still alive but the good news is that we have saved 50."
BBC News reports that officials' efforts will now turn towards removing the hundreds of whale carcasses from the coast.
This the worst mass stranding Australia has ever seen following the death of 320 whales in the south in 1996.
Rescuers on Monday spotted approximately 270 beached whales, but later discovered that many more had been washed ashore.
About 50 whales have since been brought back to sea by rescuers using slings to move them from the coast back to the water.
Once the whales are "re-floated" they can then be moved to deeper water.
It is not yet known how the whales became stranded. Some scientists believe that whales can be disorientated closer to land and accidentally lead entire pods to become stranded when searching for fish.
Pilot whales have been known for mass strandings, as they travel in tight groups.