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Update on whales stranded in Golden Bay - 2.45pm

14 January 2014 

Media update on whales stranded in Golden Bay

2.45pm

There are still just 13 pilot whales stranded on Farewell Spit and the Department of Conservation says it has lost sight of the other 50 or so whales in the pod which are thought to be in deeper water and in no immediate risk of stranding.

The stranded whales are about 7 km from the base of Farewell Spit. DOC rangers and around 25 volunteers, both local to Golden Bay and from Project Jonah, are keeping the stranded whales cool and wet with buckets of sea water.  

DOC rangers will make an assessment this evening as to whether an attempt to refloat the whales can safely be made before dark in tonight’s incoming tide.

DOC ranger Greg Napp said a strong westerly wind was making conditions difficult and the sea rough.

“We will need to assess the sea conditions around 6.30pm to assess whether it will be safe to have people in chest-deep sea water attempting to refloat the whales in this remote location.”

The whales would need to be refloated before dark when it is unsafe for people to work in the sea trying to refloat the whales.

DOC rangers in a boat had been following the whales still at sea but lost sight of them in the choppy sea.

DOC staff will be out at first light tomorrow morning looking for any whales stranded on the coastline along and south of Farewell Spit. 

DOC rangers monitored the pilot whales after being alerted to them close to shore off Taupata Point, south of Farewell Spit, shortly before 8am this morning. The whales began to strand around 11am. 

DOC called for the help of Project Jonah volunteers to assist with the stranded whales and says no further volunteers are needed at this time.

ENDS

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