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rescue

whales.jpg[Photography: David Reilly, ABC]

Rescuers have shifted 12 stranded pilot whales to a different beach in north-west Tasmania in an attempt to get them back to sea.

The 12 surviving long-finned whales were part of a maternal pod of 65 mothers and calves which was discovered yesterday stranded at Anthony’s Beach.

Fifty-three of the whales died when the pod became beached.

UPDATE: Eleven whales have been returned to the open ocean.

Rescuers have been working since early yesterday to save the long-finned pilot whales, the only survivors from a pod of 65 that became beached near Stanley.

It is hoped the group will be able to rejoin another migratory pod.

Parks and Wildlife Services manager Chris Arthur says 12 whales, up to three metres long, were transported 17 kilometres along the Bass Highway on trucks equipped for the purpose to deep water at Godfreys Beach.