Video: 145 Pilot Whales Dead After Mass Strandings In New Zealand

Screenshot from YouTube channel of New Zealand's Department of Conservation

A total of 145 pilot whales were found stranded on New Zealand’s shoreline on Saturday, November 24th and all of the whales have now died. The whales consisted of two different pods, that became stranded on Stewart Island off the coast of New Zealand. The pods were discovered roughly 1 mile apart.

Authorities were first alerted to the mass stranding by a hiker Saturday evening and by then, half of the whales were already dead. The remaining animals were later euthanized, according to New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC).

A Stewart Island operations manager for the DOC, Ren Leppens, said that the remote location and condition of the surviving whales made it impossible to save them. “Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low,” said  Leppens. “The remote location, lack of nearby personnel and the whales’ deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do was to euthanize. However, it’s always a heart-breaking decision to make.”

The incident is just part of a series of recent whale stranding’s in New Zealand. Also over the weekend, 10 pygmy killer whales were found stranded on Ninety Mile Beach, in the country’s North Island. Two have since died, but authorities are still working on saving the remaining marine mammals.
The DOC said that it typically responds to an average of 85 stranding’s incidents per year. It remains unclear why whales become beached but theories range from being chased by predators, rapidly changing tides, sickness, navigational errors and even extreme weather.
Just last year, 400 pilot whales were beached on New Zealand’s South Island in what was believed to be the third largest mass stranding in the countries history.

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