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
JAN 07, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
JAN 07, 2020
Kiss and tell: new test for kissing bug disease
Here’s one Latin lover that you do not want to get kissed by: triatomines, or “kissing bugs”. Known locally as pitos or chipos, these ins...
JAN 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 05, 2020
Here's How Reindeer Stay Warm in Freezing Temperatures
Reindeer are some of Winter’s most iconic animals, but have you ever wondered how these spectacular creatures are able to withstand such frigid tempe...
JAN 16, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
JAN 16, 2020
Sequence the Kraken! The Genome of the Giant Squid is Revealed
Giant squid, which can weigh over 900 kilograms and grow to thirteen meters, are the stuff of legend....
JAN 17, 2020
Cardiology
JAN 17, 2020
Eating Walnuts Reduces Risk for Heart Disease
Walnuts may be more than just a tasty snack. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have found that they may also promote healthy gut bacteria, wh...
FEB 03, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 03, 2020
Watch a Polar Bear Mom Scare Off a Bully So Her Cubs Can Eat
Polar bears realize that food can be scarce at times, and that’s a problem considering just how much they like to eat. In many cases, they find food ...
FEB 09, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
FEB 09, 2020
Mosquitoes are Driven to Search for Heat in the Hunt for Meals
Mosquitoes can be dangerous disease vectors, and they infect and kill hundreds of thousands of people with illnesses like dengue, malaria, and West Nile Virus....
Loading Comments...