Two pods of pilot whales had been found simply over a mile aside on Mason Bay, Stewart Island, a sparsely populated island within the nation’s south.
Authorities had been first alerted to the mass stranding by a hiker Saturday night. Half of the whales had been already useless. The remaining animals had been later euthanized, based on New Zealand’s Division of Conservation (DOC).
A Stewart Island operations supervisor for the DOC, Ren Leppens, mentioned that the distant location and situation of the surviving whales made it unattainable to avoid wasting them. He described the choice as “heart-breaking.”
The DOC additionally introduced that it was working with a neighborhood Maori tribe on the “subsequent steps.” In New Zealand, Maori teams are sometimes concerned in dismantling and burying the stays of beached whales in accordance with indigenous traditions.
The incident is one in every of a collection of current whale strandings in New Zealand. On Sunday, 10 pygmy killer whales had been discovered stranded on Ninety Mile Seashore, within the nation’s North Island. Two have since died, with efforts nonetheless underway to “re-float” the remaining creatures.
The DOC mentioned that it responds to a median of 85 stranding incidents a yr, though most contain single marine mammals slightly than whole pods.
The precise explanation why whales and dolphins turn into stranded usually are not absolutely understood. Contributing elements can embrace “illness, navigational error, geographical options, a quickly falling tide, being chased by a predator, or excessive climate,” the DOC’s assertion mentioned.
The biggest is assumed to have taken place in 1918, when roughly 1,000 whales stranded themselves on Chatham Islands.