Local authorities say all 39 pilot whales stranded on New Zealand South Island’s Farewell Spit are dead.
Thirty-nine pilot whales stranded on Farewell Spit at the top of the South Island could not be saved, say New Zealand authorities.
The pod of long-finned pilot whales was spotted beached on the spit, on Sunday afternoon.
When staff returned on Monday morning 12 of the animals were already dead, so the rest were shot to prevent further suffering.
[John Mason, Department of Conservation]:
“We sent two of our most experienced staff out there to make an assessment of whether we believed a refloat was possible but unfortunately, considering where they were on the beach and the weather conditions today we just didn’t believe that refloating was a viable option.”
The thin spit of sand traps a pod of whales almost annually, and hundreds have become stranded at the location in recent years.