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Mass stranding of whales, dolphins in Australia

  • Story Highlights
  • 54 pilot whales among a group of 192 that beached themselves
  • King Island off Tasmania is a hotspot for whale beachings
  • Experts say it is not uncommon for whales and dolphins to beach together
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(CNN) -- Rescuers have saved more than 50 whales and five dolphins that stranded themselves on a beach in Tasmania, officials said Monday.

More than 190 whales washed ashore on King island.

More than 190 whales washed ashore on King island.

The 54 pilot whales were among a group of 192 that beached themselves a day earlier on King island, which lies between Tasmania and the southeastern tip of Australia.

Tasmania's Parks and Wildlife Service said the whales had been put back to sea at high tide. The rest perished.

"This means all the surviving whales have now been refloated," it said in a statement.

Parks and Wildlife Service spokesman Chris Arthur said it was not unusual for whales and dolphins to strand together. Video Watch rescuers haul creatures back out to sea »

In November 2004, a group of 97 long-finned whales and bottle nosed dolphins beached at Sea Elephant Bay in King Island. All the animals died.


Over 90 percent of Australia's mass whale strandings occur in Tasmania, according to the Parks and Wildlife Service.

"This last summer has been a particularly demanding one, not only for the specialist Parks and Wildlife Service officers... but also the volunteers and local communities who have worked together at four major strandings this summer," Arthur said.

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