Sunday, January 01, 2006

49 Pilot Whales stranded, Farewell Spit New Zealand

41 stranded whales shot in N.Z.
Jan. 1, 2006. 08:41 PM


WELLINGTON, N.Z. (AP) — Wildlife officers shot 41 pilot whales that beached on New Zealand's South Island, the Department of Conservation said.
A total of 49 whales came ashore Saturday near Farewell Spit in the second major stranding in the area within two weeks. Eight died on the beaches and the remaining animals were shot when heavy seas prevented any attempt to refloat them.

"Given the hopelessness of being able to successfully refloat the whales, our prime concern was then to avoid the whales' suffering a long and painful death," Greg Napp, the department's Golden Bay area officer, said in a statement.
Napp said the latest stranding was likely unconnected to another last month when 129 pilot whales came ashore close by.

Conservation officers and volunteers managed to refloat more than 100 in that stranding but 21 whales died.
Mike Rogers, a Department of Conservation worker, said the whales that beached Saturday were not thought to be from the pod involved in the larger stranding Dec. 20.

"There have always been strandings at Golden Bay," he said, noting the tide goes out as much as 6.5 kilometres and the animals ``get trapped on this gentle sloping beach."

Stranded whales shot dead in NZ
Dozens of stranded pilot whales have been shot dead in New Zealand to end their suffering when it was ruled too difficult to get them back in the sea.
The department of conservation said any attempt to refloat the whales would be too dangerous for the humans involved and would probably not have worked.

The whales were stranded on a beach near Farewell Spit, on the north-western tip of the South Island.
More than 100 whales were freed from the same area about two weeks ago.

These latest stranded whales are not thought to have been from the same pod.
The latest whales were stranded further out on the spit than the previous group, meaning that any rescue attempt could have resulted in people being swept out to sea.
Eight of the whales died within hours of being stranded, the New Zealand Herald reported. Another 41 whales were shot to end their suffering.

"Given the hopelessness of being able to successfully refloat the whales, our prime concern was then to avoid the whales having a long and painful death," said a conservation department spokesman, Greg Napp, quoted by the paper.

Scientists are not sure what causes whales to beach themselves.

DOC says whale strandings strange

Jan 2, 2006

The Department of Conservation says it is strange that two different pods of whales have beached themselves around Golden Bay within the past fortnight.
21 pilot whales died when they were stranded on Puponga Beach a few days before Christmas.
Another eight died on Saturday in a second stranding near Farewell Spit, and DOC was forced to kill the other 41 mammals, as conditions were too rough to refloat them.
DOC's Golden Bay acting area manager, Greg Napp, says the whales are attracted to Golden Bay because of the sheltered waters.
Napp says it was difficult to shoot the whales, but it was important to put them out of their misery.

Source: RNZ

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