Updated: 12/1/2018 3:50:20 PM
More than 50 beached pilot whales perished in New Zealand Friday, the latest in a spate of mass strandings this week that experts have linked to rising ocean temperatures. The dead whales were part of a pod of 80-90 whales spotted late Thursday on the shore of remote Chatham Island, about 800 kilometers east of the South Island, the Department of Conservation said. It is the fifth stranding in New Zealand in less than a week, including 145 pilot whales which all died after they beached last weekend at Stewart Island, off the southern coast of the South Island.
Published Monday, November 26, 2018
145 pilot whales have died after becoming stranded in a remote part of New Zealand just over a mile apart on Stewart Island, a small island to the south of the country's South Island. They had been half-buried in the sand and around half of them were already dead.
The rest were in very bad health and were euthanized, due to the lack of potential rescuers and the difficulty they would have faced in reaching the location.
The whales had been 22 miles from Oban, the main town on Stewart Island, which only has around 400 people.
Ren Leppens, Rakiura operations manager at the Department of Conservation, said it had been a "heart-breaking decision to make". He added: "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 euthanize."
Whale stranding is quite common in New Zealand and the Department of Conservation responds to around 85 of them every year.
Many of those are involving single animals. Possible reasons include sickness, navigational errors, geographical features that confuse the animals, fast-falling tides, being chased by predators or the effects of extreme weather.
New Zealand whales mass die-off Facts
Affected Area: 3 km.
Alert Level: Green
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