A humpback whale and 23 pilot whales are dead after stranding themselves on a remote beach in a Victorian national park.
Four more pilot whales were clinging to life on Tuesday evening, according to authorities.
A member of the public reported the beaching at Croajingolong National Park in East Gippsland to the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning about 4pm on Tuesday afternoon.
“There’s suggestions the humpback whale might be from a different event, that’s the suggestion from the people on the site yesterday.”
Incident Controller Michael Turner told 3AW on Wednesday.
“The humpback is dead and of the 27 pilot whales, four are still alive but they were in very poor condition when our people left the site last night.
“They don’t hold much hope for them overnight, so I guess this morning we’ll fly the vet in and a couple of specialists and we’ll do an assessment on those four remaining pilot whales.”
Mr Turner said the whales would probably be euthanised if their condition had not improved.
The beach is “very remote” and most of the access is by walking track, with crews flying in by helicopter, Mr Turner said.
“We don’t want people in there, we’ve got some work to do there today and obviously it could be quite a dangerous area as well, we have put a media release out around that there could be sharks in the area as well, it’s probably a great spot to stay away from,” Mr Turner said.
The whales’ carcasses could be just left on the beach to be dragged out by the tide, with the beach closed, Mr Turner said.
More than 140 pilot whales died in New Zealand after standing themselves on a beach in the country’s far south on Saturday night.