Updated Sep 22, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Most of 230 whales stranded on beach in Tasmania die

whales washed up on shore
An aerial view of the mass whale stranding on Tasmania's west coast on Sept. 21. Photo: NRE Tas/Getty Images

After 230 whales were found washed up on Tasmania's west coast early Wednesday, only 35 remained alive after waves took a toll on the animals, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports.

The latest: Rescue efforts were continuing in the island state, located off the Australian mainland's southeast coast, on Thursday afternoon local time.

  • The primary focus was on the rescue and release of the 35 surviving animals, the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service told AP.

The big picture: The whales were found at Ocean Beach in Macquarie Harbour, which has a dangerous entrance known as Hell's Gate.

  • This is the second mass whale stranding in two days, after 14 dead sperm whales were found beached earlier this week, per AP.

What they're saying: "Marine conservation experts from the Department of Natural Resources and Environment are responding," the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service said when the whales were first found.

mass whale stranding
Whales beached in Australia along Tasmania's west coast on Sept. 21. Photo: Huon Aquaculture/Getty Images

Flashback: Tasmania's largest mass whale stranding took place exactly two years ago, when about 470 long-finned pilot whales were stranded on sandbars in a harbor. About 111 whales were rescued, but the remaining died.

rescuers with whales beached on shore
Rescuers try to save a beached whale in Macquarie Harbour on Sept. 25, 2020. Photo: Mell Chun/AFP via Getty Images

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect that most of the stranded whales died and with more details on rescue efforts.

This story has also been corrected to reflect Tasmania is located southeast of Australia, not southwest.

Go deeper