Close  

Hundreds of whales wash up dead on New Zealand beach

/ 08:15 AM February 10, 2017
New Zealand dead pilot whales

Whales are stranded at Farewell Spit near Nelson, New Zealand Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. New Zealand volunteers formed a human chain in the water at a remote beach on Friday as they tried to save about 100 whales after more than 400 of the creatures beached themselves in one of the worst whale strandings in the nation’s history. About three-quarters of the pilot whales were already dead when they were found Friday morning at Farewell Spit at the tip of the South Island. (Tim Cuff/New Zealand Herald via AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand—More than 400 whales were stranded on a New Zealand beach Friday, with hundreds already dead as volunteers tried to refloat the survivors, the Department of Conservation said.

Andrew Lamason, spokesman for the department, said it was one of the largest mass beachings recorded in New Zealand, where strandings are relatively common.

ADVERTISEMENT

Lamason said 416 pilot whales beached themselves overnight at Farewell Spit in the Golden Bay region at the northern tip of South Island.

He said about 70 percent had perished and attempts were underway to get the remaining whales offshore at high tide but the outlook was gloomy.

FEATURED STORIES

“With that number dead, you have to assume that the rest are in reasonably poor nick as well,” he told Radio New Zealand.

“So we’re sort of preparing ourselves for a pretty traumatic period ahead.”

Pilot whales grow up to six meters (20 feet) long and are the most common species of whale in New Zealand waters.

Farewell Spit, about 150 kilometers (95 miles) west of the tourist town of Nelson, has witnessed at least nine mass strandings of the species in the past decade, although the latest is by far the largest.

Lamason said the reason the whales beached themselves was unknown but he believed it was partly due to the local geography.

“If you designed something to catch whales then Golden Bay is probably the perfect design,” he said.

“Out at Farewell Spit it’s a big massive sweeping hook of sand coming about, the bay is very shallow and once the whales get in there… it’s very difficult to work out which way is out.”

ADVERTISEMENT

RELATED STORIES

Stranded whale dies on Malaysia Borneo beach

2 whales beached, dead in Zambales, La Union

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: environment, New Zealand, Pilot Whales, whale beaching, Whales, wildlife
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.