500 pilot whales die in New Zealand strandings

The standed whales couldn’t be refloated due to risk of shark attacks in the infested watrs. The surviving whales were euthanised to prevent further suffering.

Staff correspondent

October 12

Nearly 500 whales have died after getting stranded in a shark-infested Tupuangi Beach, Chatham Islands, in New Zealand’s remote Chatham Archipelago. 

Chatham Islands are a chain of remote islands in South Pacific. 

The New Zealand’s Department of Conservation said nearly 500 pilot whales were washed up on the beaches in Chattam Islands, some 840 kilometers east of main South Island in two different stranding events. The strandings were first reported by locals residents over the weekend. 

None of the stranded whales could be refloated due to risk of shark attack in the infested waters and all either died naturally or were euthanized in a “heartbreaking” loss,  Daren Grover, the general manager of Project Jonah, a nonprofit group which helps rescue whales, was quoted by media reports. The surviving whales were “euthanised to prevent further suffering”, officials said. 

“These events are tough, challenging situations,” the Department of Conservation wrote in a Facebook post. “Although they are natural occurrences, they are still sad and difficult for those helping.”

The Department of Conservation further said 232 whales stranded themselves Friday at Tupuangi Beach and another 245 at Waihere Bay on Monday.

The deaths come two weeks after about 200 pilot whales died in Australia after stranding themselves on a remote Tasmanian beach.

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