Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Whales refloated, still in danger

DoC staff and volunteers tend to the pilot whales stranded at Farewell Spit earlier this week. Picture / Jo Richards
DoC staff and volunteers tend to the pilot whales stranded at Farewell Spit earlier this week. Picture / Jo Richards

A large number of pilot whales refloated after beaching at Farewell Spit in Golden Bay are in danger once again.

The 40 whales were refloated just before noon by Department of Conservation (DOC) staff and volunteers after stranding themselves this morning.

"Thirty of the whales had begun swimming in deeper water towards Separation Point, at the top of Abel Tasman National Park'', however 10 of them remained close to the coastline.

"Early this afternoon all the whales turned towards Farewell Spit and began stranding about 3km up from the base of the Spit,'' DOC said.

Initially, 53 whales were found stranded this morning, however 13 died before they were able to be refloated.

Today's beaching comes days after eight whales were euthanised after stranding themselves twice at Farewell Spit on. A ninth whale, which had not been seen at the beach, also had to be put down after it became stranded.

Last week 27 pilot whales had to be put down after becoming beached at the spit. A further 12 had already died from natural causes after being stranded.

DOC said the tide, which peaked at about 11.45am, was now going out and those whales which were still afloat were at risk of restranding.

"Rescuers are trying to keep those whales in the sea and move them out into deeper water.''

- APNZ

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