Over 230 whales were found stranded on the rugged west coast of Tasmania Wednesday, with Australian officials saying only half appeared to be alive, according to ABC news.
In a statement, the Department of Natural Resources said the whales, which appeared to be pilot whales, were stranded on Ocean Beach, near the harbour entrance, known as Hells Gates.
“A pod of approximately 230 whales has stranded near Macquarie Harbour. It appears about half of the animals are alive,” said the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
It said a team from the department as well as the Environment Tasmania Marine Conservation Program (MCP) was “assembling whale rescue gear and heading to the area”, which is remote and a long walk from roads.
The tragic incident has taken place exactly two years after hundreds of whales died at the same spot on Tasmania’s west coast as they were beached in the same manner. After a week-long rescue effort, only 111 whales could be saved, leaving authorities to dispose of more than 350 carcasses.
The 470 long-finned pilot whales were found beached on sandbars at Macquarie Harbour in September 2020 in what was the biggest mass stranding on record in Australia.