Some fourteen sperm whales have died in a mass stranding on a beach in west Tasmania, Australia. The whale carcasses were discovered by locals on King Island and reported to authorities on Monday afternoon.
The reason for the stranding is unknown, but whale strandings are not uncommon in Tasmania - experts say the island state is a hotspot for such events.
An aerial survey will determine whether more animals are stranded in the area, a state government spokesperson said.
Sperm whales, which are considered vulnerable globally, can grow up to 18m and weigh up to 45 tons, in the case of males..
Wildlife scientist Vanessa Pirotta said the dead whales were probably part of a bachelor pod - a group of juvenile male whales - that ran into trouble. Sperm whales are like deep-diving buses and typically spend time in waters further offshore, Dr Pirotta said.
All whale strandings remain a mystery. We don't exactly know why they happen.
The whales may have mis-navigated, followed a sick or disoriented leader, or been startled into shallower waters, added Dr. Pirotta.