Whales stranded in New Zealand refloat themselves

Feb 06, 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: Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

82 whales stranded on New Zealand coast

Feb 04, 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.

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.

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.

Recommended for you

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher

Apr 17, 2014

One day about eight years ago, Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled ...

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises

Apr 17, 2014

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but re ...

Fear of the cuckoo mafia

Apr 17, 2014

If a restaurant owner fails to pay the protection money demanded of him, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.