Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mass Stranding At Whakatane

This morning dawned on more than 20 dead pilot whales in the Bay of Plenty.
Yesterday, two pods of pilot whales were seen in Ohiwa Harbour near Whakatane. Some of the whales beached themselves on the ocean side of the harbour. A badly injured whale was found up the harbour channel early yesterday afternoon. It's companions were probably concerned for its well-being, causing the mass stranding.
By 7am this morning, about 20 whales were dead, half of those euthanased by Dept.of Conservation (DoC) officers. A helicopter prevented more deaths by shepherding others to safety: the noise turned the whales around, and they went back out the harbour mouth.
Experienced volunteers from around the country have arrived to help save the remaining whales. Ohiwa's next high tide is at around 6pm this evening, 1½ hours before sunset.
Mass pilot whale strandings are more common in the Golden Bay area, the Far North, and the Chatham Islands. Most strandings occur in spring and summer.
UPDATE: 06 Nov.2014 - Rescue mission fails - all whales are lost.

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