Almost fifty pilot whales have washed ashore on a remote beach in the north of New Zealand’s South Island. The New Zealand media report this based on reports from the NGO Project Jonah and the conservation organization Department of Conservation (DOC).
At half past nine Monday morning local time, the DOC was signaled by a local tour operator in Golden Bay, in the north of the South Island, about the massive stranding on Farewell Spit, after which rangers rushed to the relevant beach.
Project Jonah also sent rangers and specialist doctors to examine the washed up whales. According to the organization, two thirds of the washed up whales have now been checked and they are all still alive.
The whales are cared for as well as possible and kept wet, and when the tide starts to rise again around 6 pm local time, efforts will be made to get the animals back into the sea. Meanwhile, the organizations also check the beaches in the area to see if no pilot whales have washed up there.
Four years ago, in February 2017, there was also a mass beaching on Farewell Spit when no fewer than 700 pilot whales washed up on the beach, of which about 250 eventually died.
Pilot whales grow to about six meters in length and are the most common whale species in New Zealand waters. The cause of the mass strandings remains unknown, despite the fact that scientists have been trying to find out for decades.