Second beaked whale strands in Southland

A second beaked whale to be stranded within 24 hours in Southland was euthanised yesterday by the Department of Conservation.

The female adult whale stranded at Sandy Point, near the tip of Oreti Beach at the mouth of Invercargill's New River Estuary.

DoC acting area manager for Murihiku/Southern Islands Alan Christie said the department was notified about the whale yesterday morning after it was spotted from an aeroplane flying over the area.

The discovery came less than a day after an unsuccessful attempt by Doc and the Omaui community to rescue a female beaked whale calf stranded on Omaui Beach, on the opposite side of the estuary.

Mr Christie said they could not determine whether the adult was the calf's mother but they were "making the assumption" the two animals were part of the same group.

Several other whales of the same species were seen swimming in the channel on Sunday, he said.

"We believe they're of that same group."

The adult whale was in significant distress and "taking into account the tides", staff made the decision to euthanise the whale about 7pm, Mr Christie said.

Samples would be taken from the whale for scientific analysis.

- Robert Landreth of the Southland Express

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