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More whales stranded on Farewell Spit

More whales stranded on Farewell Spit

Department of Conservation rangers aim to refloat around 40 pilot whales stranded at the base of Farewell Spit in this morning's incoming tide and are calling for volunteers to assist.

Only people with wetsuits who can get to Triangle Flat at the base of Farewell Spit by around 11.45am are needed at this stage. Anyone coming to assist should have warm clothing, water, and all other gear that they need.

DOC was alerted by a member of the public to the whales which are thought to have stranded around low tide early this morning. In total 53 whales have stranded but 13 have died.

The whales are currently in waist-deep water and it is hoped to refloat them around high tide at 11.45am.

DOC Takaka Conservation Services Manager John Mason said it was thought the whales were part of the same pod seen off Taupata Point, south of Farewell Spit, on Tuesday (14 January).

Thirteen of those whales stranded that morning on Farewell Spit. Five later died. DOC rangers and volunteers, many from Project Jonah, over two days worked to refloat the whales and shepherd them out to sea. But the whales showed no inclination to swim out to sea once refloated and they attempted to re-strand.

The remaining 8 whales were euthanised by DOC staff on Thursday morning along with a ninth whale that had restranded with them over the previous night. DOC made the decision to euthanise the whales to relieve their suffering when it became clear the chances were very low of being able to successfully refloat them and get them safely out to sea.

ends

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