Almost 100 pilot whales dead in mass stranding in New Zealand

DY365
DY365
Published: November 25,2020 03:38 PM
DY365

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November 25, 2020: Almost 100 pilot whales have died in a mass stranding on New Zealand's remote Chatham Islands, the conservation officials said on Wednesday.

November 25, 2020: Almost 100 pilot whales have died in a mass stranding on New Zealand's remote Chatham Islands, the conservation officials said on Wednesday.



Most of the marine mammals beached themselves over the weekend but rescue efforts were hampered by the area's isolated location, about 800 kms east of the South Island, the Department of Conservation said.



The Department biodiversity ranger Jemma Welch said 69 whales had already died by the time wildlife officers reached the beach. She said 28 pilot whales, including two that beached on Monday after the initial stranding, and three dolphins were euthanised.



Welch said that the animals had to be put down “due to the rough sea conditions and almost certainty of there being great white sharks in the water which are brought in by a stranding like this”.



She also said that members of the local Maori community had performed a ceremony to honour the spirits of the whales, which would be left to decompose naturally.



The causes of mass strandings remain unknown despite scientists studying the phenomenon for decades. Theories include pod members following a sick leader ashore, shoreline geography that scrambles the animals' sonar, the presence of predators and extreme weather.