Eight pilot whales which have restranded themselves at the top of the South Island will be euthanised.

The whales were from a pod of about 60 which swam into Golden Bay on Tuesday.

Thirteen beached at Farewell Spit that day, and despite efforts of Department of Conservation (DoC) staff and Project Jonah volunteers to keep them alive, five have died.

Photo / Project Jonah
Photo / Project Jonah

While the surviving whales were refloated twice, they were found on the beach again this morning.


DoC Golden Bay conservation services manager John Mason said the whales were swimming along the coastline yesterday afternoon but by evening had not sought deeper water.

"The whales are in a worse condition today and even if refloated are likely to continue to try to restrand. Also there is strong wind forecast for today which makes conditions difficult for refloating whales.

"We have done all we can to help these whales but there is only so much we can do for them. It also needs them to help themselves in swimming safely out to sea.

"Euthanising them humanely now relieves their suffering," he said.