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More Whale Woe

More Whale Woe

Fifty of the 62 pilot whales refloated off Farewell Spit early this afternoon are still at sea and swimming south of Farewell Spit. They are being monitored by the Tasman District Council harbourmaster in a boat.

Twelve whales have died. Two died during the refloat. Ten whales had not followed the other whales further out to sea and had swum further east along the Spit coast, eventually stranding about 10km east from Triangle Flat near the base of the Spit.

Two of those 10 whales died and another 8 were euthanised by DOC rangers out of concern they could cause the rest of the whales to re-strand.

DOC Takaka Conservation Services Manager John Mason said the whales were euthanised to prevent a repeat of what occurred yesterday when some whales re-stranded after being refloated and appeared to cause the rest of the whales to then strand.

"Euthanising the 8 remaining whales that re-beached this afternoon gave more chance the 50 whales still at sea won't also re-strand and will make their way safely out to sea.

"We were also particularly concerned not to have all the whales strand in the area where the 10 whales stranded this afternoon where it would be very difficult to successfully refloat the whales in the large area of inter-tidal flats."

Yesterday, after 40 whales were refloated, 30 swam further out to sea but 10 whales hung back swimming parallel to the coastline. They then re-stranded. The other whales at sea then headed back to shore, also re-stranding on Farewell Spit.

About 100 volunteers have assisted in caring for the whales and refloating them, many of them trained Project Jonah volunteers. DOC is very grateful for their help.


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