One of the biggest mass whale strandings in history has taken place on a beach in Chile.
337 dead sei whales have washed up on the Chilean coast, with scientists saying the discovery is one of the biggest recorded.
Biologist Vreni Haussermann used satellite photography to count 305 bodies and 32 skeletons on the coast between the Gulf of Penas and Puerto Natales in June, The Independent reported.
And the final tally might be even higher, Ms Haussermann told AFP she expected to find more in the future as her team had yet to explore all areas, describing the discovery as an ‘apocalyptic sight’.
It’s been established that human intervention isn’t responsible for their deaths, but the cause remains a mystery, with National Geographic reporting that the Chilean government has launched an investigation – the sei whale is a protected species.
Palaeontologist Carolina Simon Gutstein said sei whales don’t usually travel in large packs adding: “They probably died at sea, we don’t know exactly where, but they didn’t just die by stranding.”
On the plus side, the discovery could help and influence protection policies and possibly create a sanctuary in the Gulf of Penas.