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.
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.
— Emily Cooper (@em_cooper23) February 10, 2017
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.
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.