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Update on stranded whales on Farewell Spit - 9.41pm 14 Jan

DOC update on stranded whales on Farewell Spit

9.41pm 14 January 2014

DOC rangers working with more than 40 volunteers tonight got 12 pilot whales stranded on Farewell Spit back floating in the sea but it is uncertain whether they will move off safely into deeper water or might re-strand. Due to darkness, rescuers had to leave the whales floating but still close to shore around 9.15pm. Rescuers are now leaving the area.

It is hoped the whales will swim safely further out. Rescuers though were unable to complete the full procedure for successfully refloating whales before darkness fell when it is unsafe for people to be in the sea helping whales. This involves bringing the whales together once floated and getting them moving in a group out to sea. 

Many of the volunteers that assisted DOC rangers are trained Project Jonah volunteers and came from the local area and further afield to help. DOC is grateful for their help.

Initially, 13 whales had stranded about 7km from the base of Farewell Spit around 11am today but one died this afternoon. DOC rangers in a boat were monitoring another 50 or so whales still out at sea but lost sight of them early this afternoon in choppy seas and their whereabouts are not known.

DOC rangers will be out at first light looking to see if any whales have stranded overnight on the coastline along and south of Farewell Spit.

ENDS

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