Almost 100 Pilot Whales Dead After Mass Stranding On Remote NZ Islands

Pilot whales are seen stranded on the beach in Chatham Islands New Zealand

Pilot whales are seen stranded on the beach in Chatham Islands New Zealand

In total, per the New Zealand Department of Conservation, 97 pilot whales and three dolphins died due to the stranding. The latest beaching is on Chatham Island.

"There were only 26 whales alive in the area, most of which appeared very vulnerable, were subjected to harsh marine conditions and euthanasia, and the presence of large white sharks in the water is nearly certain", said Biodiversity Ranger Gemma Welch in a statement.

The officials revealed that most of the dolphins were stranded during the weekends, but the distant location of the island has thwarted the rescue attempts.

- A prayer, or mantra - on Sunday to honor the spirits of the whales, the department added.

Almost 100 whales have died in New Zealand in a mass stranding on remote islands over the weekend. Their bodies will be left to decompose.

A thousand animals died on a single stranding in 1918.

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In September, over 450 whales became beached in Tasmania, with around two thirds rescued.

In September, almost 400 pilot whales died in a mass stranding in multiple locations off the west coast of Tasmania, Australia. They are not considered endangered, although exact population numbers are not known.

Pilot whales grow up to six metres (20 feet) long and are the most common species of whale in New Zealand waters.

There are various theories for why beachings occur.

Researchers also think that such groups are more susceptible near beaches which gently slope across a wide area because the whales' sonar pulses can fail to detect the shoreline in shallow waters.

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