More than a dozen whales have died in New Zealand after becoming stranded on the country’s North Island, the Department of Conservation said on Sunday.
Rescuers and volunteers worked all day on Saturday to refloat about 25 of the animals, part of a pod of about 40 to 50 pilot whales who got stranded earlier that day on a beach in the Coromandel Peninsula.
In fact, five dead pilot whales were discovered late on Saturday night at a site thought to be the original stranding location, the department said.
“The rescue effort to save stranded pilot whales at Colville northern Coromandel bay has proven successful. The pod of pilot whales, estimated to number between 40 and 50 animals, was reported off the coast of Coromandel’s Colville Bay early on Saturday 17 October.”
“Local DOC staff, members of the local iwi, whale organisation Project Jonah, Waikato Regional Council harbourmaster rural fire brigade and the local community worked throughout the day to make about 25 [whales] from the pod stranded on mudflats more comfortable. Five dead pilot whales were discovered nearby late on Saturday night, at a site thought to be the original stranding location.”
“Although the high tide at about 9 p.m. on Saturday night had allowed the stranded whales to be refloated, members of the pod restranded this morning – including several on rocky outcrops at the bay,” the Department said in a statement on its Facebook account.
“Sadly, about dozen have died after restranding on the rocks this morning. However, we are encouraged by the fact the majority of the stranded whales have re-joined the pod this morning and have been chaperoned out to deep water.”