ABOUT 90 whales and dolphins - 80 of them dead - were found washed ashore on a Bass Strait island yesterday.
Almost 70 pilot whales - including three calves - and about 20 bottled nosed dolphins were found stranded on a beach at New Year Island, which sits off the north-west tip of King Island.
Parks and Wildlife King Island ranger-in-charge Shelley Davison said all but six dolphins and four whales were dead when rescuers arrived on the scene about 1pm.
"We managed to get all six dolphins back into the water and two of the whales," Mrs Davison said.
"Unfortunately, the remaining two whales died during the process.
"Overall, I was quite happy with our rescue."
It followed a beaching on King Island on Friday, where 13 dolphins washed up on Phoques Bay Beach. Eight of the dolphins were returned to the ocean.
Mrs Davison said the New Year Island beaching drew strong volunteer support from the King Island community.
``We had about 20 volunteers helping (Parks and Wildlife) on each day, as well as three boats that were all in a volunteer capacity,'' she said.
``Some of the members of the community were very, very upset after the incident.
``Others were happy, or pleased, to be involved in something that you don't experience every day.
``Either way, whale beachings are very, very emotional things to go through for everyone who is involved.''
Margaret Barnes, of Currie, was one of the volunteers for both days.
Her husband, Guy, discovered the grisly New Year Island scene on a fishing trip.
King Island is no stranger to whale beachings.
In 2009, almost 200 whales and dolphins stranded themselves on Naracoopa Beach.
It is still not known exactly why beachings occur.