Marine biologist and science communicator Vanessa Pirotta said pilot whales are social creatures and are commonly found along Tasmania’s West Coast.
She said that, while beaching and being stranded are a mystery to scientists, several factors could have led to the incident. These include an error in whale navigation or something startling them.
Dr Pirotta said those on site had a challenging day ahead of them as they would need to assess how many whales there were, how many could be moved over a short period of time, tide movements and many other aspects to get the whales off the beach.
“It’s a massive effort with any stranding, but 70 animals is a big task,” she said.
“Marine animals have never felt their own weight before. They can die from overheating or die from the weight of their body resting on the sand.”