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Almost 25 whales dead and more than 200 stranded in Tasmania…

Australia: At least 25 pilot whales have died and more than 200 stranded at Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania’s west coast in what is believed to be one of Australia’s worst beaching events.

A marine conservation team was assessing the health of the whales after they became stranded in three spots in and outside Macquarie Heads. Nic Deka, incident controller from the Tasmanian department, told reporters that it appeared from the air that about 25 of 30 whales stranded near Ocean Beach, outside the heads, have died.

“They are in water. It’s very difficult to see how many might be deceased or what condition they’re in,” he said. Authorities hope to launch a rescue mission for surviving whales early, when there would be an outgoing tide. Tasmania is a known whale stranding hotspot as the mammals pass it to and from Antarctica. Beachings were not uncommon in the area, but it was the first in at least 10 years.

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