107 Pilot Whales Die In New Zealand Stranding

by
redwarrior
All members of a pod of 107 pilot whales that stranded on a remote New Zealand beach have died, including 48 that were euthanized, the government's conservation department said Monday. The stranded whales were discovered by hikers Sunday near Cavalier Creek on Stewart Island, off the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island.

In this photo released by the New Zealand Department of Conservation, a dead whale lies in the sand at Spirits Bay in the North Island of New Zealand, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010. At least 40 out of 80 pilot whales that stranded themselves on the remote northern New Zealand beach have died, and more whales are joining them on land.

All members of a pod of 107 pilot whales that stranded on a remote New Zealand beach have died, including 48 that were euthanized, the government's conservation department said Monday.

The stranded whales were discovered by hikers Sunday near Cavalier Creek on Stewart Island, off the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island.

Volunteers pour buckets of water over the 80 remaining live pilot whales found stranded on remote Ocean Beach on New Zealand's southern-most Stewart island, 08 January 2003. A pod of 159 pilot whales beached themselves of which half have since died of dehydration. Rescuers are still hopeful of floating around fifty of the larger mammals at high tide.

Conservation department staff flew to the area and found that about half of the group were already dead and the others were dying, the agency said in a statement. The whales were well up the beach and the tide was receding, leaving little chance of keeping them alive until more rescuers could arrive.

"Euthanasia is a difficult decision, but is made purely for the welfare of the animal involved to prevent it from prolonged suffering," said Brent Beaven, the official who led the team at the site.

Pilot whales are about 13 feet to 20 feet (4 meters to 6 meters) long and are the most common species of whale in New Zealand waters.

Rescuers gather information from dead long fin pilot whales at Hamelin Bay on March 23, 2009. 58 Volunteers joined rescue workers struggling to save the lives of 17 whales that survived a mass stranding on a beach on Australia's west coast, officials said Around 80 long-finned pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins were found beached over more than five kilometres (three miles) in Hamelin Bay, south of the city of Perth.'When found this morning there were 25 whales alive, since then a further eight have died,' the Department of Environment and Conservation said in a statement.

Whale strandings are common in New Zealand. Last month, 24 pilot whales died after stranding on the North Island. In December 2009, more than 120 whales died in two separate beachings near Golden Bay and on the east coast of North Island.

AP