Rescue operation underway as pod of 70 pilot whales spotted stranded on a sandbar off Tasmania

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A pod of about 70 whales has become stranded on a sandbar on Tasmania’s west coast.

Marine conservation experts rushed to Macquarie Harbour near Strahan on Monday morning after they were alerted to the pod of what is believed to be pilot whales.   

Whale rescue gear is being transported from Hobart and extra rescue crews are also on their way to the site.

Police and wildlife authorities were alerted to the pod, believed to be pilot whales, at Macquarie Harbour near Strahan on Monday morning

Police and wildlife authorities were alerted to the pod, believed to be pilot whales, at Macquarie Harbour near Strahan on Monday morning

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water (DPIPWE) staff and Tasmania police are on site and managing the incident. 

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

The whales are stuck on a sandbar and are believed to have been stranded inside Macquarie Heads.  

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.  

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