Pilot Whales Found Dead or Dying on Remote Beach in New Zealand

30 November, 2018, 11:12 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Department of Conservation

The condition of the remaining three whales is being assessed by a team of vets and specialists, and the mammals may be euthanised if they have not shown signs of improvement.

"There is no clear evidence to suggest the incident is related to the stranding further west, however, the condition of the animals suggest they may have died within a similar time frame", Mr Young said.

The humpback whale is thought to have died well before the rest in a separate incident.

An estimated 145 long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) mysteriously stranded on a remote beach in New Zealand over the weekend, and none of the poor creatures survived.

Short-finned (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and long-finned pilot whales look nearly identical when seen in the wild, but the two species differ in fin length, tooth count and skull shape.

"The beach is regularly used by locals and visitors so by removing the whales the beach can be enjoyed again".

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As the beaching was a natural occurrence, the whale carcasses would be left where they are to decompose, the spokeswoman said.

"Desperately we grabbed their tails and pushed and yelled, before we got hammered by them thrashing around".

When conservation workers arrived, they found that 75 of the animals were already dead and they made a decision to euthanize the others due to their poor condition and remote location. "It was useless - they were so big and heavy and the realization we could do nothing to save them was the worst feeling I've ever experienced".

"The whales are in a very remote part of the national park that's only really accessible on foot".

It is said that New Zealand is the country that is known for most whale strandings in the world. Scientists believe strandings can be caused by a number of factors, such as the whales trying to escape predators, falling ill, or navigating incorrectly.

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