24 pilot whales die in New Zealand stranding

Jan 21, 2011

(AP) -- New Zealand conservation officials on Friday euthanized 10 pilot whales, the only survivors of a 24-strong pod that became stranded in a mangrove swamp.

The had been found earlier in the day trapped in the shallow water and mud in Parengarenga Harbor on North Island, with 14 already dead.

The had been there for some time and the 10 survivors were in poor shape, said Department of Conservation area manager Jonathan Maxwell.

With worsening weather and a high tide more than eight hours away, "the chance of successfully refloating the whales was virtually nil," Maxwell said.

"Sadly, the current conditions were against these animals. The kindest thing was to end their suffering," he said. "If we felt there was a real chance we could have successfully rescued them, we would have."

travel in pods of family groups and when one becomes stranded, others follow to try to help and also become stuck.

Pilot whales are the most common whale species in New Zealand waters, and are normally between 13-19 feet (4-6 meters) in length.

Last week, volunteers and conservation workers successfully refloated one young Gray's Beaked whale after it stranded. Four other adult mammals died on the beach.

New Zealand has several whale strandings around its coastline each summer, with mass strandings of as many as 450 of the mammals.

Whale experts have been unable to explain why the mammals apparently swim into dangerously .

Explore further: Dolphins are attracted to magnets

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

80 pilot whales stranded on New Zealand beach

Sep 22, 2010

(AP) -- At least 40 out of 80 pilot whales that stranded themselves on a remote northern New Zealand beach have died, and more whales are joining them on land, officials said Wednesday.

NZ rescuers save 9 whales stranded on beach

Aug 22, 2010

(AP) -- Crews with bulldozers buried 49 pilot whales in sand dunes on an isolated northern New Zealand beach Sunday after rescuers managed to save only nine from a group that was stranded on the beach for two days.

56 pilot whales die after stranding on NZ beach

Sep 23, 2010

(AP) -- Only 24 of several dozen pilot whales stranded on a remote northern New Zealand beach survived a stormy first night ashore despite rescuers' desperate efforts to save them, officials said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Study shows how chimpanzees share skills

9 minutes ago

Evidence of new behaviour being adopted and transmitted socially from one individual to another within a wild chimpanzee community is publishing on September 30 in the open access journal PLOS Biology. This i ...

Little blue penguin back at sea after hospital stint

5 hours ago

Wildbase Recovery Community Trust ambassador and Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie joined Massey University veterinary staff to release a little blue penguin back into the sea at Himatangi Beach this morning.

User comments : 0