Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Farewell Spit coast: dozens of pilot whales stranded off New Zealand – 40 animals saved


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Several dozen long-fin pilot whales are stranded on the coast of New Zealand. More than 200 helpers fought for the survival of the animals.

The environmental organization Project Jonah reported that 49 pilot whales were stranded and nine of them perished.

  • Around 50 long-fin pilot whales are stranded on the coast of New Zealand.

  • Over 200 helpers fought for the survival of the animals.

  • Nine whales have already died.

  • 40 whales could be saved.

Volunteers have rescued 40 pilot whales stranded on a remote stretch of New Zealand’s coastline. At high tide, they managed to guide the marine mammals back into the sea from the Farewell Spit sandbar. A spokeswoman for the whale rescue group Project Jonah, Louisa Hawkes, announced on Monday that the around 200 helpers had cooled the marine mammals with water, held them upright and made sure that they did not get too much pressure on their fins until the high tide. Nine long-fin pilot whales died.

Hawkes said it was a fantastic sight to see the whales back in deeper water. Unfortunately, however, they did not swim further out into the open sea, which could mean that they would be stranded again. “Everyone is very hopeful, but also very realistic,” she said.

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A total of around 50 whales found themselves in shallow water at the Farewell Spit headland.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Nine whales perished.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Farewell Spit is a long sandbar that protrudes like a hook into the Tasman Sea in the north of the South Island. There have often been mass strandings of whales there, which is why the stretch of coast is sometimes described as a «whale trap». Why this happens is not yet known.

Four years ago, 650 pilot whales were stranded in Farewell Spit. More than 350 animals perished and around 300 were rescued. Pilot whales reach a length of 3.6 to 8.5 meters and are usually rarely seen near the coast.

You know of an animal in need?

Fire brigade, Tel. 118 (animal rescue)

Police, Tel. 117 (for wild animals)

GTRD, Large Animal Rescue Service, Tel. 079 700 70 70 (emergency call)

(DPA)





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