Rescue operation conmtinues for pod of 270 whales stranded on a sandbar off Tasmania’s west coast

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An early morning rescue mission will be launched to save a pod of 270 whales stranded on a sandbar off Tasmania’s remote west coast.

Around 25 of the pilot whales are believed to have already died after the large pod became stuck on Monday morning. 

Marine conservation experts made a mercy dash to Macquarie Harbour near Strahan after they were alerted to the pod spread across two sandbars and a beach at Macquarie Heads.

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water staff and Tasmania Police were on site to assist as marine experts assessed the incident. 

The desperate rescue effort continues to save a massive pod of whales (pictured) who became stranded on a sandbar at Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania on Monday morning

The desperate rescue effort continues to save a massive pod of whales (pictured) who became stranded on a sandbar at Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania on Monday morning

Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service manager Nic Deka, said marine specialists had to complete a thorough assessment before rescue efforts could start.

‘When we start making an effort (on Tuesday) morning it will be with an outward-going tide,’ he told reporters.

‘That will be in our favour. We’ll be aiming to make the most of that window.’

A plan was drawn up on Monday night after specialist crews arrive in Strahan from Hobart.

Strahan resident Georgia Grining told AAP the whales were quite distressed.

Of the 270 pilot whales believed to be stranded (pictured), around 25 have sadly already died

Of the 270 pilot whales believed to be stranded (pictured), around 25 have sadly already died 

One of the groups is stranded about 100 metres from a boat ramp.

‘(They were) flapping around and obviously trying to get themselves off the sandbar. It’s not very nice,’ she said.

Mr Deka said whale beachings in Tasmania were not uncommon but there hadn’t been one of this size on the west coast for a decade.

Authorities are asking people to keep their distance.

‘These are big animals, those that are untrained in managing these incidents can be at risk,’ Mr Deka said.

Marine experts are assessing the situation with further updates expected throughout the day

Marine experts are assessing the situation with further updates expected throughout the day

Whale rescue equipment is being transported from Hobart.

Tasmania is the only state in the country where mass groups of whales and dolphins regularly become stranded, according to the DIPIPWE. 

Reasons include misadventure, disorientation caused by shallow waterways or rough seas, or even flight response when in contact with a superior species. 

Long-finned pilot whales are most frequently involved in mass strandings in Tasmania.   

The stranded pod of pilot whales (pictured on Monday) spread across two sandbars and a beach off Tasmania's west coast

The stranded pod of pilot whales (pictured on Monday) spread across two sandbars and a beach off Tasmania’s west coast

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