Over 400 whales in mass stranding on New Zealand beach

Over 400 pilot whales have beached themselves on the shores of Farewell Spit on the South Island, New Zealand in one of the worst strandings the country has ever seen.

whales in mass stranding on New Zealand beach

Over 400 pilot whales beached themselves on Farewell spit in New Zealand

Over 300 of the whales died during the night and locals and conservation officers are desperately trying to save the remaining whales. Hundreds of people have turned out to help and the creatures are being kept cool with water and made as calm and comfortable as possible.

Some of the surviving whales had been re-floated at high tide this morning but many quickly became stranded once the tide ebbed. Human chains were set-up to try and herd the whales back to deeper water. Another attempt to re-float the whales will be made at high tide later this evening.

whales in mass stranding on New Zealand beach

Volunteers try to keep the animals cool with water. Image Ross Wearing/Reuters

Scientists don’t know what exactly cause the whales to beach themselves. Sometimes it’s because they are old or sick or make navigational errors. 

New Zealand has one of the highest stranding rates in the world and many incidents happen here at spot at Farewell Spit. In 1918 in the country’s largest ever whale stranding occurred with 1,000 whales beaching themselves at the Chatham Islands.


About the Author

Ann Robinson
Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me ann@coastmonkey.ie or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22