Mass whale stranding in New Zealand leaves 145 whales dead

A remote New Zealand beach is the scene of a mass stranding after two pods of whales landed and were unable to get back into the water.

The pods of stranded whales were first spotted by a camper in the area who notified the Department of Conservation on Saturday night. The two pods were stranded at the southern end of Mason Bay, approximately two km apart.

DOC Rakiura Operations Manager Ren Leppens says that sadly, half of the whales had already died by the time they were found. Due to the condition of the remaining whales and the remote, difficult to access location, the decision was made to euthanise the remainder.

“Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low. The remote location, lack of nearby personnel and the whales’ deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do was to euthanise.”

“However, it’s always a heart-breaking decision to make.”

Marine mammal strandings are a relatively common occurrence on New Zealand shores, with DOC responding to an average 85 incidents a year – mostly of single animals.

Exactly why whales and dolphins strand is not fully known but factors can include sickness, navigational error, geographical features, a rapidly falling tide, being chased by a predator, or extreme weather. More than one factor may contribute to a stranding.

A number of stranding occurred on New Zealand shores over the weekend, however these events are unlikely to be related.

On Sunday 10 pygmy killer whales also stranded at 90 Mile Beach. Two have since died and re-float attempts will be made tomorrow.

A sperm whale/tohora, also beached in Doubtful Bay on Karikari Peninsula in Northland. The 15 m male whale, which is thought to have beached about 3 pm on Friday, sadly died overnight on Saturday. A dead female pygmy sperm whale also washed up at Ohiwa over the weekend.

About the author

Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.