About 100 whales and dolphins died after beaching on a southern Australian island Sunday, and about 50 more were still at risk, a government official said.

Wildlife officers were headed for King Island (search) between the Australian mainland and the southeast island state of Tasmania to help rescue efforts.

Early reports said 72 pilot whales and 30 bottlenose dolphins died after beaching at Sea Elephant Bay, Tasmanian state government environment spokesman Warwick Brennan said.

Up to 50 more whales and dolphins were believed to be still alive and 800 feet offshore, he said.

"The local community, who first found the animals, they have been doing a lot of work over there with the animals," he said. "We will continue to work with the local community as well. When you have a lot of animals like this involved, you need all the help you can."