Tragedy as 145 pilot whales die in mass stranding in New Zealand

New Zealand rescuers save six stranded whales Posted

New Zealand rescuers save six stranded whales Posted

The latest beaching comes two days after more than 100 whales were founded stranded on a remote shore of New Zealand's Stewart Island.

Four more pilot whales were clinging to life on Tuesday evening, according to authorities.

"Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low".

"They might have lost their bearings, or one got sick and beached itself and the others went to help", he told AAP.

The pygmy killer whale stranding happened only a few hours after conservationists were confronted with the heartbreaking sight of scores of long-finned pilot whales beaching themselves 1,000 miles to the south on New Zealand's remote Stewart Island.

Short-finned (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and long-finned pilot whales look nearly identical when seen in the wild, but the two species differ in fin length, tooth count and skull shape.

The whale carcasses are unlikely to be removed by authorities and could be left on the beach to be dragged out by the tide. A popular hypothesis suggests that the whales' echolocation, which they use to find their prey, loses its effectiveness in shallower coastal waters, and the whales beach themselves inadvertently as they struggle to find their way back to sea.

The crews were hoping for a better outcome than from an unrelated stranding over the weekend in which all 145 pilot whales died.

Mr Parks said seal colonies in the area already attract sharks to those waters.

Half of them were dead, the other was impossible to save, in this connection employees of the Department of conservation of New Zealand made the decision to euthanize them.

"It is a remote area, not really accessible by foot unless you walk the beach", he said.

A stranded whale is not a rare sight in New Zealand, where some 85 incidents are being reported every year. It could also be a combination of factors that causes the animals to strand, but those reasons remain unknown.

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