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SYDNEY (AFP) – Nearly 200 whales and several dolphins have beached themselves on an island off southern Australia and a race is on to save the dozens of survivors, officials said Monday.
About 50 of 194 pilot whales and seven dolphins stranded on King Island between the mainland and Tasmania were still alive, Tasmania's Parks and Wildlife Service spokesman Chris Arthur said.
Although around 140 whales had already died, Arthur told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation he hoped some could be saved.
"These are fairly robust animals, pilot whales. We've experienced that in the past," he said.
Local residents have been at the scene since the whales began stranding themselves late Sunday, and rescuers were headed to the island in the Bass Strait, Arthur said.
The latest beaching takes the total number of whales stranded around Tasmania in the past four months to nearly 400.
More than 150 pilot whales died after beaching themselves on Tasmania's remote west coast in November and 48 sperm whales died in January on a sandbar off Perkins Island.
Tasmania, Australia's southern island state, experiences about 80 percent of whale beachings in the country, a phenomenon so far unexplained by science.

2 comments
  1. Ron Centeno Tuesday, March 03, 2009  

    Definitely need to save these amazingly beautiful creatures of the sea.

  2. z-vet Thursday, March 05, 2009  

    Interesting thing is that no one seems to know why they beaching themselves.