MORE than 100 pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins were found dead after being stranded on the Chatham Islands, the New Zealand Department of Conservation reported.
Ninety-seven whales and three dolphins died in the stranding and 26 of them were alive but very weak and had to be euthanized.
The DOC has reported that the stranding was due to rough sea conditions. The northern beach of the main Chatham Island where the whales and dolphins were stranded is a remote area and when locals put out the radio call about the stranding, it was heard by divers in the area, who are told to stay out of the water because the carcasses would attract great white sharks to the area
Two more whales were stranded on the beach while DOC rangers were there and also had to be euthanized.
Hokotehi Moriori Trust and Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri Iwi Trust joined DOC staff on the beach and performed a karakia (Maori prayer) to honour the spirit of the whales, which will be left to decompose naturally.
Whales become stranded on the Islands’ beaches about once or twice a year as the area is a hotspot for pilot whales.
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