Volunteers are fighting to rescue surviving pilot whales after 400 of them were stranded on the south island of New Zealand. About 300 of the whales have already died.
It is the third largest event of this type of phenomenon where whales are beached or swim ashore and do not return to the sea. It is unclear as to why this happens.
The whales were found on Friday morning at Farewell Spit, on the northern tip of the South Island of New Zealand, which is notorious for cetacean strandings. At that time there were already 300 whales that had died. Pilot whales are lying in piles over a distance of over a hundred meters.
About 300 volunteers participated in the rescue of the surviving whales. Some of the whales were refloated back to sea when the tide came in and the volunteers stood in a line in the water to prevent the whales from swimming back to shore.
Volunteers in wetsuits carried buckets and tried to nurture the whales that were still alive, by keeping them moist and cool.
New Zealand has some of the world’s largest deposits of stranded whales. The record stems from 1918, when 1,000 pilot whales were found on the Chatham Islands. In 1985 there were 450 whales stranded in Auckland.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today