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Friday, November 6, 2015
The pod of 29 was discovered on Tuesday evening by two trampers, who were unable to alert the Department of Conservation (DoC) for two days because the bay was so remote.
DoC says eight of the whales were still alive when they arrived on Thursday, but they had to be euthanised. Refloating was not an option given the length of time the whales had been stranded in hot, dry conditions.
Because the stranding site is so isolated, the whales will be left to decompose naturally on the beach. Visitors should stay well clear of the carcases.
And thus the 2015 whale-stranding season in NZ begins...
The largest mass stranding on record happened in 1918, when 1000 whales were stranded on the Chatham Islands.
The most recent stranding on Stewart Island was in June 2013 when one pilot whale got stuck on Maori Beach.