Stranded pilot whales die in New Zealand

January 6, 2014
In this image released by the US Coast Guard, a pod of pilot whales swims off the coast of Everglades National Park in Florida on December 5, 2013

A pod of 39 pilot whales died after stranding themselves at a remote beach on New Zealand's South Island, conservation officials said Monday.

The whales, which are notorious for beaching themselves, were being monitored after they were spotted close to the shore of Golden Bay on Sunday but rangers were powerless to stop them stranding, the Department of Conservation said.

Golden Bay conservation services manager John Mason said 12 of the whales died naturally and rangers euthanized the rest after assessing they were too far up the beach to be refloated.

"We carefully weighed up the likelihood of being able to refloat them and get them safely back out to sea," he said.

"But our staff, who have extensive experience in dealing with mass whale strandings in Golden Bay, determined that due to various factors it was unlikely they could be rescued."

Mass pilot whale strandings are common in New Zealand, with scientists unclear about why the marine mammals swim ashore in large groups.

Explore further: Whales stranded in New Zealand refloat themselves

Related Stories

Ninety whales stranded on New Zealand beach

January 23, 2012

A pod of 90 pilot whales have beached themselves at the top of New Zealand's South island, in the same area where seven whales died in a mass stranding earlier this month, according to officials.

Pilot whales stranded on New Zealand beach

November 15, 2012

A pod of 28 pilot whales that were left stranded on a New Zealand beach on Thursday are likely be put down as there is little chance of refloating them, wildlife officials said.

Recommended for you

'Hog-nosed rat' discovered in Indonesia

October 6, 2015

Museum of Natural Science Curator of Mammals Jake Esselstyn at Louisiana State University and his international collaborators have discovered a new genus and species on a remote, mountainous island in Indonesia. This new ...

Most EU nations seek to bar GM crops

October 4, 2015

Nineteen of the 28 EU member states have applied to keep genetically modified crops out of all or part of their territory, the bloc's executive arm said Sunday, the deadline for opting out of new European legislation on GM ...

Ancestors of land plants were wired to make the leap to shore

October 5, 2015

When the algal ancestor of modern land plants first succeeded in making the transition from aquatic environments to an inhospitable shore 450 million years ago, it changed the world by dramatically altering climate and setting ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (1) Jan 06, 2014
Why or how, under the pressure of evolution, could a creature of physical strength and large brain, beach itself?

It wouldn't be due to being driven deaf and crazy by sonar, would it?
not rated yet Jan 06, 2014
They probably saw the Japanese ships coming.
5 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2014
Why not offer beached whales that die to the Japanese in exchange for giving up hunting them? They could tow them to their ship and clean up the beach. 39 would be a good haul;-)

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.