CNN

About 200 whales have died and only 35 are still alive after a massive stranding in Australia this week, rescue teams say.

The pilot whales were found washed up on an exposed beach along the Tasmanian coast on Wednesday.

Rescue efforts are underway to save the remaining whales.

“We are mainly focused this morning on really getting into this rescue operation and getting [the whales] released,” Brendon Clark of the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service told the Australia Broadcasting Corporation on Thursday.

“We are aware that some of them could re-beam and so we will monitor that.”

Rescuers had previously estimated that around half of the whales were still alive.

It is the second mass stranding of whales to take place in Tasmania this week after more than a dozen sperm whales, mostly young males and thought to be part of the same bachelor pod, were found dead on another beach .

Instances of whale strandings have baffled marine scientists for decades.

Tasmania’s largest stranding was in 2020 when over 450 pilot whales were found.

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