145 pilot whales stranded on remote New Zealand beach die

28 November, 2018, 02:57 | Author: Tracy Craig
  • 145 Whales Found Dead on Steward Island in New Zealand What is Whale Stranding

A hiker made this heartbreaking discovery on Saturday evening while camping on the third biggest island of New Zealand, located at about 19 miles of the Southern Island. "The remote location, lack of nearby personnel and the whales" deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do was to euthanise, ' he said. New Zealand's Department of Conservation, which was notified Saturday night, said half of them had already died by the time they were discovered.

On Sunday, 10 pygmy killer whales were found stranded on Ninety Mile Beach, in the country's North Island.

Two sperm whales, including one female pygmy, also died over the weekend in separate incidents.

Ngāi Tahu has been working with the Department of Conservation following the mass stranding and planned to follow various cultural protocols, including placing a rāhui or restriction over the whales.

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While whale strandings are common in New Zealand - there are around 85 cases per year across the country - it is not known exactly why or how the whales end up in this situation. In video footage shot from an aircraft, the dead rest motionless in thick clusters, many half-buried in sand by the movements of the tide. Whales use echolocation signals to communicate, but gently shelving waters in the area could distort those signals - a possible cause of strandings in the area. "You wish you could understand the reasoning why the whales strand, so you could intervene".

Since the beach is isolated, it's unclear how long the creatures had been stranded before they were discovered.

Whangarei Harbour, Mahia Peninsula and the Chatham Islands were also prone to strandings. Grover said stranded whales needed to be tended to quickly because of predator and seagull attacks, dehydration, and the onset of heat exhaustion.

The whales lived in extended family groups, and if even one or two members of the group got into trouble - for instance if they were sick, elderly, having difficulty giving birth, or could not use echolocation properly - the others felt compelled to stay to help, she said. The whales were found at Mason's Bay about which is 35 kilometres from the main township of Oban.

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