You don’t usually see whales lying around on seashore, and you certainly don’t see dozens of them at once, fighting for survival.
This rare sight was witnessed by the beachgoers at New Zealand’s Puponga beach, where 46 pilot whales washed ashore just a few days after a shoal of 70 were refloated at Golden Bay.
Volunteers from Project Noah quickly gathered up to repeat the process and save the lives of the stranded group of cetaceans – which, if unable to make their way to deep waters this time – will die, according to experts.
"I'm just draining, digging a channel, so we can drain all the water away from his face, so that it's not around his blow hole, so that he can breathe,” said one of the volunteers, Haley Baxter. “Otherwise he will drown.”
A cyclone has been predicted, which means that if the mammals don’t make it to deep waters soon, refloating them would be impossible for the next few days.
“At the moment, they want to go back to the beach,” another volunteer added. “They are pretty determined to go there. So, it's a bit of a handful trying to keep them going the right way out to sea, really.”
The area of Farewell Spit has been a classic fish trap for a long time and has resulted in deaths of hundreds of whales in the past few decades.