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Over 200 whales stuck on beach in mystery stranding with many expected to die

The lives of over 200 whales are in jeopardy after the mysteriously washed up on a beach in Tasmania, Australia.

Arresteting pictures show the huge pod of what are thought to be pilot whales stranded in shallow water at the entrance to Macquarie Harbour, in the West Coast region of the island directly south of mainland Australia.

Sadly, officials planning a rescue operation stated that it appears that up to half the 230-strong pod could be dead.

READ MORE: Mystery surrounds mass deaths of 14 sperm whales found stranded on remote island

This comes just a day after at least 14 sperm whales died after washing up on the shore of a remote island near the north of Tasmania, King Island in the Bass Strait.

The deaths have baffled scientists, with one saying it's a "complete mystery" as to why the large mammals even swam towards the shore at King Island.

And mystery surrounds the most recent stranding too. Wildlife scientist Vanessa Pirotta told the BBC the similarities between this stranding and the one yesterday are "unusual" and concerning.

"We simply do not know why this happens," she told the ABC on the subject of the September 20 stranding. "That's the million-dollar question every time this kind of event happens."

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She theorised that both of the incidents could have come about when the pod "misnavigated", followed a sick or disoriented leader, or been startled into shallower waters.

The operation to rescue the more recent pod would be "complex" due to the location on a very shallow inlet navigable by shallow-draft vessels.

The BBC reported that more of the whales are expected to die overnight. Even still, experts are headed to the scene to try and refloat whichever specimens are fit enough to survive.

Pirotta said the "giant island" itself could just be a navigational hazard for animals that use echolocation, a biological sonar used by several animal species.

"You're going from essentially open waters and then there's land all of a sudden," she said.

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