145 pilot whales die in stranding on New Zealand beach

  • In this Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018 photo, pilot whales lie beached at Mason Bay, Rakiura on Stewart Island, New Zealand. As many as 145 pilot whales have died after the mass stranding which was discovered by a hiker on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018.(Department of Conservation via AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — All of the 145 pilot whales that stranded themselves on a remote New Zealand beach have died.

However, conservation workers are hoping to save some of the eight pygmy killer whales that remained stranded Monday at the other end of the country in an unrelated event.

A hiker discovered the pilot whales in two pods about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) apart late Saturday on Stewart Island. About 75 were already dead and conservation workers decided to euthanize the others due to their poor condition and remote location.

Only about 375 people live on Stewart Island, which is also called Rakiura. The whales were found at Mason’s Bay about 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the main township of Oban.

“You feel for the animals, it’s just a really sad event,” said Ren Leppens, the Rakiura operations manager for the Department of Conservation. “It’s the kind of thing you don’t want to see. You wish you could understand the reasoning why the whales strand better, so you could intervene.”

Leppens said the whales were half buried in sand and not in good health, indicating they had been there for perhaps a day before they were found. He said staff shot the whales and the carcasses would be left where they were for nature to take its course.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, 10 pygmy killer whales were found stranded at Ninety Mile Beach on the North Island. Two have since died, and staff plan to try and refloat the remaining eight.

Whale strandings are relatively common in New Zealand during the Southern Hemisphere spring and summer. It’s believed strandings can be caused by a number of factors, such as the whales trying to escape predators, falling ill, or navigating incorrectly.

  1. Steven Fox November 26, 2018 11:41 pm Reply

    Maybe they are protesting man using the ocean as an all purpose sewer.

  2. M Christie November 27, 2018 3:54 pm Reply

    Watch Sonic Sea – our whales and dolphins are very vulnerable to sonar and will do anything to try an escape it – extremely painful to their brains and hearing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-jabL64UZE
    Terry Lilley said Yesterday ~· TGI “This has been 100% predicted to happen! The US NAVY, Australian Navy and New Zealand Navy are conducting a RIMPAC type underwater electronic weapons testing with Raytheon right where these whales died! We have been reporting on this now for two years since the US Navy and Royal Australian Navy announced the war games!

    Raytheon even boasted on their Australian web page that they “will control the seas and the Chinese had better take notice”. They are using high intensity underwater electromagnetic and plasma energy weapons to detect and destroy Russian and Chinese “quiet submarines” that cannot be detected by using normal sonar.

    The Navy even warms all Navy scuba divers to stay miles away from these underwater weapons or you will suffer a heart seizure! The larger the animal will absorb more of an electrical discharge due to its larger skin surface. One US submarine has the electronic fire power to kill a hundred pilot whales and when you add a dozen of these submarines along with underwater drones and surface war ships in one area the marine life is going to be destroyed!

    The US Navy is doing the same type testing out of PMRF in Kauai and along the Oahu north shore but they track the whales using hydrophones and move away from the pods of whales and dolphin so this does not happen again here in Hawaii. But what the Navy is finally learning is these very dangerous underwater electronic weapons also kill coral reefs like what happened in Kauai and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The corals can not simply swim away from the submarines bombarding their habitat with electricity!!”

  3. Alison Price November 29, 2018 9:13 am Reply

    This is horrible. When will we and our governments consider all life, not just power games and lack of consideration of it’s effects on both humans AND wildlife?!?

  4. Sherab Palmo November 29, 2018 10:42 pm Reply

    Please please we are all on this earth. We must stop needless harm to our environment and ALL who dwell in it.

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