BuzzFeed News

Reporting To You

world

About 140 Beached Whales Die In New Zealand, 60 Survivors Return To Sea

Sixty pilot whales were saved over the weekend after nearly 200 beached themselves on Friday. Hundreds of volunteers were able to get the survivors back into the deeper water after they beached themselves again over the weekend.

Last updated on February 17, 2015, at 3:51 p.m. ET

Posted on February 13, 2015, at 9:14 p.m. ET

A Department of Conservation worker on Friday tends to a whale stranded on Farewell Spit on New Zealand's South Island.
Tim Cuff / New Zealand Herald via AP

A Department of Conservation worker on Friday tends to a whale stranded on Farewell Spit on New Zealand's South Island.

Sixty pilot whales that beached themselves off the coast of New Zealand for a second time appear to have made it into safe water, officials reported Sunday.

They were the lucky ones — about 140 others died in the mass beachings that started on Friday, the Associated Press reported.

A pod of 198 pilot whales were found Friday stranded on Farewell Spit in Golden Bay on New Zealand's South Island, a famous spot for whale beachings, according to the New Zealand Department of Conservation.

Hundreds of volunteers raced to the scene with buckets, spades, and old sheets to keep the surviving whales cool and wet while they waited for high tide to re-float the pod.

Stranded whales have a better chance of surviving when it's overcast or rainy, but on Friday, volunteers worked under dry, sunny conditions, the New Zealand Herald reported.

"This is a big stranding. It's a real challenge," Andrew Lamason, a spokesman for the New Zealand Department of Conservation, told the Herald.

The overnight effort on Friday was initially successful, but as the tide receded, the whales restranded.

198 pilot whales stranded on New Zealand beach http://t.co/MzVb2pTPhw

RT@RT_comFollow

198 pilot whales stranded on New Zealand beach http://t.co/MzVb2pTPhw

10:47 AM - 13 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

On Saturday morning, local time, volunteers worked to keep the 60 survivors alive in anticipation of the next high tide.

Staff and volunteers with Project Jonah and the public watered the whales down and kept them covered as they waited for the next high tide.

When it came, they used pontoons and slings to take them into deeper water, which appeared to work. On Sunday, Department of Conservation officials said in a statement that the spotters on the beach, as well as a fixed wing airplane, could find no sign of the whales, indicating that that they had left Golden Bay.

New Zealand Department of Conservation / Via doc.govt.nz

Support our journalism

Help BuzzFeed News reporters expose injustices and keep quality news free.

Contribute
ADVERTISEMENT