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Tragedy in Tasmania: what are pilot whales, and why do they strand themselves? – The Guardian

Pilot whales – actually large dolphins – are vulnerable because of their close bonds and way of communicating

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About 380 pilot whales possibly more have died in Tasmania in one of the biggest mass strandings of the marine mammals on record.
Rescuers saved at least 70 of about 470 animals that got stuck on sandbanks and beaches mostly inside Macquarie Harbour on the states remote western coast.
But as a rescue mission turns to retrieving and carting hundreds of dead mammals into the open ocean, some weighing more than a tonne, many are asking how such a tragedy could unfold.
What are pilot whales, and …

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