Stranded whales to be euthanised in New ZealandJanuary 16th, 2014 in Biology / Plants & Animals
File photo taken on February 20, 2011 by New Zealand's Department of Conservation shows pilot whales stranded on a remote beach on Stewart Island
New Zealand conservation officials said Thursday they would have to euthanise eight pilot whales stranded on a remote beach where five others died earlier this week.
The decision to put the whales down was made after they repeatedly returned to the beach after each attempt to shepherd them out to sea.
They were part of a pod of 65 whales sighted near Farewell Spit at the top of the South Island on Tuesday.
"We have done all we can to help these whales but there is only so much we can do for them. Euthanising them humanely relieves their suffering," regional department of conservation manager John Mason said.
"It is a hard call to make but the whales appear to be stressed and suffering from the ordeal of being beached for hours several times over the past two days."
Farewell Spit, about 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the tourist city of Nelson, is frequently the scene of mass strandings by pilot whales, with scientists unsure why they swim ashore in large groups.
Earlier this month a pod of 39 pilot whales died after beaching themselves in the same area.
© 2014 AFP
"Stranded whales to be euthanised in New Zealand." January 16th, 2014. http://phys.org/news/2014-01-stranded-whales-euthanised-zealand.html