Forty-eight pilot whales have restranded at Golden Bay, after
spending nearly four hours swimming in deeper water.
Department of Conservation ranger Neil Murray said the whales
were refloated this afternoon with the high tide, but had
returned to Triangle Flat, near the base of Farewell Split.
A team of DoC staff and volunteers would stay with the whales
until dark, keeping them as comfortable as possible.
The whales were expected to refloat in the incoming tide
during the night; however, it was unclear whether they would
move into deeper water, Mr Murray said.
The 48 whales are thought to be from a pod of about 70 which
stranded at Farewell Spit yesterday.
Twenty-one of those whales died after becoming stranded, Mr
This morning, 63 live whales were found scattered along the
beach at Farewell Spit, after refloating and moving through
One of the whales died this morning, however the remaining 62
were refloated this afternoon during the high tide.
While two of the whales died before making it to deeper
water, the majority were able to be mobilised.
But despite the efforts of DoC staff and volunteers, 10
whales remained in shallow water and swum further east along
the coast of Farewell Spit, eventually stranding about 10km
east from Triangle Flat near the base of the spit.
A decision was made to euthanise 8 of the beached whales -
after two had died naturally - to give the whales further out
to sea a better chance.
However, since then, the 50 whales which had been out at sea
had returned and rebeached, with two now dead.
Mr Murray said staff would assess the situation at first
"In their current form, we're not confident they'll get
themselves off. Last night's whales, they didn't move very
Earlier this week eight whales were euthanised after
stranding themselves twice at Farewell Spit. A ninth whale,
which had not been seen at the beach, also had to be put down
after it became stranded.
Last week 27 pilot whales had to be put down after becoming
beached at the spit. A further 12 had already died from
natural causes after being stranded.
Mr Murray said the decision to euthanise whales depended on
their health and their chances of survival.
It was made by DoC staff, local iwi and volunteers.