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145 stranded pilot whales die in New Zealand

Inthis February 11, 2017 file photo, Volunteers try to assist some more stranded pilot whales that came to shore in the afternoon after one of the country's largest recorded mass whale strandings, in Golden Bay, at the top of New Zealand's South Island.

Inthis February 11, 2017 file photo, Volunteers try to assist some more stranded pilot whales that came to shore in the afternoon after one of the country's largest recorded mass whale strandings, in Golden Bay, at the top of New Zealand's South Island.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The reasons why whales and dolphins can become stranded have not been clarified, although it is attributed to diseases, navigation errors, sudden changes in tides, being chased by predators or extreme weather conditions.

About 145 pilot whales died in New Zealand after being stranded during the weekend on Stewart Island in the extreme south of the country, officials said on Monday.

A hiker alerted authorities on Saturday night about the situation of the whales, who were stranded in Mason Bay in two separate groups about two kilometers apart, a Department of Conservation of New Zealand release said.

Half of the whales were dead when rescuers arrived and the condition of the rest, by the time they were found, was so bad it was decided to euthanise them, said Ren Leppens, operations manager at Rakiura.

“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,” said Leppens.

Pilot whales, also called long-finned pilot whale, are a specimen with a bulging forehead and a robust body that can reach between six and seven meters in length, Xinhua news agency reported.

A supplied image shows around 145 pilot whales that died in a mass stranding on a beach on Stewart Island, located south of New Zealand's South Island, on Sunday.

A supplied image shows around 145 pilot whales that died in a mass stranding on a beach on Stewart Island, located south of New Zealand's South Island, on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: HANDOUT

 

Marine mammals are frequently stranded on New Zealand’s coasts and the average number of operations carried out by environmental officials is about 85 per year, most of them to save these animals individually.

The reasons why whales and dolphins can become stranded have not been clarified, although it is attributed to diseases, navigation errors, sudden changes in tides, being chased by predators or extreme weather conditions.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 1:55:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/145-stranded-pilot-whales-die-in-new-zealand/article25596132.ece

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