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Australian authorities are racing to save dozens of pilot whales and a small pod of dolphins beached on an island.
The mammals have stranded themselves on King Island, in the Bass Strait between the mainland and the southern state of Tasmania.
Reports say about 140 out of nearly 200 whales have already died.
More than 400 whales have died in Tasmanian waters in recent months, in a phenomenon for which scientists still have no definitive explanation.
Mass strandings of whales occur periodically in Australia and New Zealand, as the whales migrate to and from Antarctic waters, for reasons that are not entirely understood.
Theories include disturbance of echo-location, possibly by interference from sound produced by human activities at sea.
The state of Tasmania has experienced about 540 beachings in the past 22 weeks, including four mass strandings in the past three months - and to make matters worse, many rescue efforts are ineffective and cruel, the crew of whale conservation group Sea Shepherd says.
"Dolphins don't beach. It just doesn’t happen unless an individual has a brain disorder. So to get so many whales and dolphins stranded at once is extraordinarily unusual," Sea Shepherd’s national director for research, Ness Pearce, said.
"When you find that the areas where the animals are commonly stranded are those where there is coal, oil and gas exploration going on through the use of siesmic activities, there is undoubtedly something going on here other than nature."