Over 400 dead whales were stranded on a New Zealand Beach on Friday, with hundreds dead as volunteers raced to re-float the survivors.
The statement came by Department of conversation of New Zealand.
The department’s regional manager told, “It was one of the largest mass beachings recorded in New Zealand, where strandings are relatively common”.
He told to the radio, “Some 416 pilot whales beached themselves overnight at Farewell Spit in the Golden Bay region at the northern tip of South Island. With that number dead, you have to assume that the rest are in reasonably poor nick as well…So we’re sort of preparing ourselves for a pretty traumatic period ahead.”
A department spokesman said there were so many whale carcases in the shallows that it was difficult for the volunteers to get living animals back into the water.
He told, “The dead ones that are floating around out there are obstructing their course out to sea… I understand they’re concerned about people’s welfare… there’s quite a safety issue there.”
He said most of the surviving whales had been refloated and dozens of volunteers formed a human chain to try to stop them beaching again.
“We’ve got a line of people between the shore and the whales to screen them and stop them coming back in,” he said.
“Hopefully the outgoing tide will take them out to sea and they’ll swim away.”
Pilot whales are renowned for tragically swimming back ashore after being refloated in an apparent attempt to rejoin their pod.
The department said it was the third biggest mass stranding on record in New Zealand.
The biggest occurred when 1,000 whales beached at the remote Chatham Islands in 1918, followed by 450 that washed ashore in Auckland in 1985.