48 pilot whales put down as 107 die on New Zealand beach

Daily Mail:

All members of a pod of 107 pilot whales that stranded on a remote New Zealand beach have died, including 48 that were euthanised. The stranded whales were discovered by hikers on Sunday near Cavalier Creek on Stewart Island, off the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island.

Conservation department staff flew to the area and found that about half of the group were already dead and the others were dying, the the government’s conservation agency said in a statement.

Grisly: 107 pilot whales were found stranded on a remote beach in Cavalier Creek on Stewart Island, off the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island

107 pilot whales were found stranded on a remote beach in Cavalier Creek on Stewart Island, off the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island : photo AFP

The whales were well up the beach and the tide was receding, leaving little chance of keeping them alive until more rescuers could arrive. …… 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.

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.

Many unexplained deaths of marine mammals could be caused by soundwaves from underwater military sonar equipment, zoologists believe. They think the signals may cause bubbles in the animals’ tissue, in the same way as divers can suffer decompression sickness known as ‘the bends’. …

 

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