Chilean officials said Friday that about two dozen endangered sei whales have been found beached along the South American country's southern coast.

Foreign scientists discovered the whales on the Gulf of Penas and reported them to the National Fisheries Service. While a statement from government officials said there were around 20 whales, the scientists said they counted more than 30.

Chile Beached Whales

Chilean government officials said there were 20 whales found, but the scientists who discovered the carcasses say there was upwards of 30. (Vreni Haussermann/Huinay Scientific Field Station/AP)

It's not unusual to find beached whales along Chile's 4,200-kilometre coast. However, it's the first time sei whales have been found beached in the country, the Fisheries Service said.

The International Union for Conservation of Natures lists the sei as an endangered species. Adults can be longer than 15 metres and weigh 20 tonnes or more.

Officials said they were trying to determine what caused the whales to wind up on the beach.

Chile Beached Whales

Sei whales are among the largest whale species on earth. Adults can be more than 15 metres in length and weigh more than 20 tonnes. (Vreni Haussermann/Huinay Scientific Field Station/AP)