Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Third Pod On A Spit This Summer

Around 100 pilot whales stranded yesterday at Golden Bay at the top of the South Island.
Dept.of Conservation (DOC) workers tried to coax the confused whales towards deeper water but they were unresponsive and stranded as the tide receded.
22 of the whales are already dead. About ten DOC workers and up to 40 volunteers are at the beach trying to keep the remaining whales comfortable. It was hoped the whales would refloat themselves when high tide occurred overnight. If the whales are still on the beach this morning, attempts would be made to refloat them at high tide around 11.15am. It's too dangerous to try to refloat whales at night.
Project Jonah CEO Kimberly Muncaster says it's "tragic" to see two mass strandings at virtually the same site in just over two months. [It's the third whale stranding in the area this summer. Earlier this month, 18 of 25 whales were refloated when they stranded on the Spit. And 65 whales died when they became stuck on a remote section of Golden Bay in November last year.]
Tues.8am Update: At first light today, volunteers found 34 dead pilot whales, despite a midnight high tide on which the whales could have refloated themselves. DOC says 28 whales have gone overnight. However 39 whales are alive and volunteers plan to refloat them on the 11am high tide.
Tues.3pm Update: Just hours after being refloated, the 39 whales have restranded. The tide dropped so quickly that, despite a huge effort to stop the animals restranding, they grounded again. It's hoped they'll refloat themselves on the 11.30pm high tide. The 17 whales that refloated overnight were last reported heading out of the bay in 28m of water. At high tide about 11am today, the 90 volunteers also became stranded on the spit - they had to wait for the tide to recede so buses could arrive to take them back to base.
Wed.8am Update: Following a second night on land, DOC reports 35 live animals and four more dead. The surviving whales are in reasonable condition, and another refloating attempt will be made on the noon high tide.
Wed.5pm Update: Although the whales were refloated today, two had to be put down...all the survivors appear to be making their way out to sea this evening.
Thurs.5pm Update: After the survivors restranded again last night, the decision was made to put them all down this morning. The final tally: 82 of the 99 whales died...

+ Seems it's not just 3News journos who attach wrong pix to whale stories. AsiaOne.com yesterday reported this stranding... with a photo of a Nov.2011 Faroe Islands pilot whale massacre!! Jeez!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done to all those volunteers and DoC workers who worked tirelessly to save as many of these whales as they could!