Nearly 60 whales die in New Zealand mass stranding

August 20, 2010
File photo shows volunteers pouring buckets of water over remaining live pilot whales found on a beach in New Zealand. Nearly 60 of the sea mammals have died after becoming stranded on a beach in the far north of New Zealand, conservation officials have said.

Nearly 60 pilot whales have died after becoming stranded on a beach in New Zealand on Friday, conservation officials said.

The mass stranding of a pod of 73 whales was discovered mid-morning and Carolyn Smith from the Department of Conservation said the whales probably beached overnight, which was why so many died before a rescue operation was launched.

The area around Kaitaia beach, in the far north of , was experiencing heavy rain and wind which Smith said helped the surviving whales by ensuring they did not dry out but made it difficult for rescuers preparing to refloat the .

At least five people are needed to work with each of the whales, which weigh up to 1.5 tonnes.

Whale beachings are not uncommon along the New Zealand coast and more than 100 pilot died in a stranding in the South Island last December.

Explore further: Whales die in Tasmanian stranding

Related Stories

Nine rescued whales beach again in Australia

March 25, 2009

All but one of the 10 whales that survived a mass beaching on Australia's west coast were Wednesday believed to have come back ashore and were unlikely to survive, authorities said.

15 whales die beached in NZ, 33 coaxed to sea

January 24, 2010

(AP) -- Rescuers in New Zealand managed to coax 33 beached whales back out into deep waters Sunday, but another 15 of the pod died, a conservation official said.

Recommended for you

Researchers design first artificial ribosome

July 29, 2015

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

John_balls
not rated yet Aug 20, 2010
What causes them to be beached?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.