On Wednesday, an estimated 230 whales stranded near the town of Strahan on Tasmania’s western coast, just days after at least 14 sperm whales died after beaching on King Island in the Bass Strait, roughly 170 miles to the north.
Officials said many of the whales did not survive after becoming stuck in the remote area, including on Ocean Beach — Tasmania’s longest. Only 35 had survived the pounding surf overnight, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service manager said.
Tasmania’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment said in a statement Thursday that the surviving whales were released into deep waters by teams that have been working around-the-clock to save the mammals, considered a protected species.
The whales stranded two years to the day after the largest mass-stranding in Australia’s history was discovered in the same harbor.
The entrance to the harbor is a notoriously shallow and dangerous channel known as Hell’s Gate.