Whales stranded in New Zealand refloat themselves

February 6, 2011

(AP) -- Sixty-six survivors of a pod of 80 pilot whales that beached in New Zealand freed themselves and swam back to sea during a high tide, rescuers said on Saturday.

Fourteen of the pod were unable to be saved and had died, Conservation Department spokeswoman Trish Grant said.

The came ashore at Golden Bay north of the city of Nelson on the tip of South Island on Friday afternoon.

About 100 rescuers had been unable to refloat the whales before darkness fell Friday night. The rescuers set up camp nearby with plans to try again at first light.

Grant said the rescuers returned to the site of the stranding Saturday morning to find the whales had gone. It appeared a high tide around midnight had allowed the stranded whales to free themselves.

"We don't know whether they have managed to swim safely out to sea or whether they may have stranded somewhere else along the coast," she said. "Some, even though they are refloated, do wash up dead later on because they've been through such an ordeal so they are considerably weakened by it."

Pilot whales are about 13 to 20 feet (four meters to six meters) long and are the most common species of whale in waters.

Whale strandings are commonplace in New Zealand. Last month 24 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.

Explore further: 15 whales die beached in NZ, 33 coaxed to sea


Related Stories

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.

NZ rescuers save 9 whales stranded on beach

August 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.

24 pilot whales die in New Zealand stranding

January 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.

82 whales stranded on New Zealand coast

February 4, 2011

Ten pilot whales died when about 82 of the mammals beached at the top of New Zealand's South Island on Friday, officials said, warning that the others could not be refloated immediately.

Recommended for you

A common mechanism for human and bird sound production

November 27, 2015

When birds and humans sing it sounds completely different, but now new research reported in the journal Nature Communications shows that the very same physical mechanisms are at play when a bird sings and a human speaks.

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(Phys.org)—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...


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.