Dozens of pilot whales that have been stranded at Puponga Beach in New Zealand are being refloated.
Volunteers are pouring water over the whales, and clearing their airways so they can breathe.
[Haley Baxter, Project Noah]:
“I’m just draining, digging a channel, so we can drain all the water away from his face, so that it’s not around his blow hole, so that he can breathe. Otherwise he will drown.”
The volunteers say it is difficult to push the mammals back to sea.
But the tail-end of a cyclone is forecast to pass through Golden Bay, and this could be the last opportunity to refloat them.
[Project Noah Volunteer]:
“At the moment, they want to go back to the beach. They are pretty determined to go there. So, it’s a bit of a handful trying to keep them going the right way out to sea, really.”
Dozens of whales have already died and some had been euthanized from the 70 that were initially stranded.
But local media says 46 whales have been saved and are now swimming in deeper water.
The area of Farewell Spit is a classic whale trap, due to a large tidal flat, and hundreds of whales have died getting stranded in the past decade.