NOV 26, 2018 6:51 PM PST

More Than 145 Whales Found Beached in New Zealand

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Whale strandings have become quite the frequent occurrence in New Zealand, but a massive stranding reported over the weekend that involved at least 145 pilot whales, is being coined one of the most significant whale strandings in the country’s history.

More than 140 pilot whales beached themselves in New Zealand over the weekend.

Image Credit: DOC

A statement produced by the regional Department of Conservation (DOC) on Monday denotes how the 145 pilot whales were comprised of two separate pods and were gathered at the Southern end of Mason Bay.

A good Samaritan spotted the beached whales while exploring the region on foot. Upon discovering the distressed marine mammals, the explorer reportedly traveled more than two hours away to seek help from officials.

Citing DOC’s statement, it wasn’t until 10:30 P.M. on Saturday that organization officials became aware of the situation at the New Zealand beach.

By the time officials arrived at the whale-stricken beach, approximately half of the stranded whales had already perished. Those remaining weren’t faring much better; their deteriorating health coupled with a plethora of other unfortunate events made rescue attempts futile. Consequently, officials were compelled to euthanize them.

“Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low,” explained Ren Leppens, the Operations Manager of DOC Raklura. “The remote location, lack of nearby personnel and the whales’ deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do was to euthanize. However, it’s always a heart-breaking decision to make.”

Related: Have researchers linked the Northern Lights to whale beachings?

Officials are currently advising beach visitors to stay away from the whales for health and safety reasons.

The very next day, at least ten pygmy whales beached themselves at 90 Mile Beach, and additional large marine mammals were discovered at other neighboring shorelines. Fortunately, many of these animals are being rescued – put back into the ocean where they’ll get a second chance at life.

DOC responds to approximately 85 marine mammal strandings in New Zealand every year. The curious frequency of these events has earned New Zealand the reputation of being a hotspot for marine mammal strandings, albeit most circumstances involve only a single animal.

Experts have yet to fully understand why so many marine mammals beach themselves at one time like this, but some theories indicate that it could be indicative of factors such as illness, navigational error, predatory fear, tidal timings, weather, or a combination of these.

We can only hope that the cause of these unfortunate events will be revealed and that a means of preventing them can be implemented. Until then, this is a mystery that remains unsolved.

Source: DOC via NYTimes

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAR 19, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
The Giraffe Genome Explains Some of Its Unusual Characteristics
MAR 19, 2021
The Giraffe Genome Explains Some of Its Unusual Characteristics
Giraffes are unique and have made many evolutionary adaptations. They have a very short sleep cycle, for example.
APR 28, 2021
Plants & Animals
Insight Into the Evolution of Madagascar's 'Horned' Crocodile
APR 28, 2021
Insight Into the Evolution of Madagascar's 'Horned' Crocodile
Madagascar is home to many unusual animals. A skull from one - the 'horned' crocodile - can be seen in this image by M. ...
MAY 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
Brood X Cicadas Are Here - Help Scientists Track Them
MAY 13, 2021
Brood X Cicadas Are Here - Help Scientists Track Them
Download this smartphone app to help document one of North America's natural wonders.
JUN 07, 2021
Microbiology
Zika Virus Found in Free Ranging Bats
JUN 07, 2021
Zika Virus Found in Free Ranging Bats
Zoonotic viruses certainly got the world's attention with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. But viruses have been emerged from an ...
JUN 27, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
How Colorful Geckos Can Teach Us About Biology
JUN 27, 2021
How Colorful Geckos Can Teach Us About Biology
A colony of Lemon Frost geckos was created by the reptile shop of Steve Sykes, which included Mr. Frosty, seen here cour ...
JUL 05, 2021
Plants & Animals
Why Are Some Fish Warm-Blooded? A Need for Speed
JUL 05, 2021
Why Are Some Fish Warm-Blooded? A Need for Speed
Great white sharks are warm-blooded, and new research helps explain why.
Loading Comments...