Whale stranding: 'I don't think we're looking at any Hollywood ending'

The whales being refloated on Monday evening from the base of Farewell Spit in Golden Bay. Photo:...
The whales being refloated on Monday evening from the base of Farewell Spit in Golden Bay. Photo: Project Jonah
A pod of pilot whales stranded for a second day at the top of the South Island is not moving well and the local DOC ranger isn't optimistic for their prospects.

More than 40 long-finned pilot whales were refloated on Monday from the base of Farewell Spit in Golden Bay.

DOC Rangers and about 50 volunteers started searching for the whales on the coast at first light on Tuesday and the pod was found around 7am.

There were 28 live whales and rangers, Project Jonah marine mammal medics and other volunteers have been working to refloat them.

About 21 whales had died.

Local DOC ranger Andrew Lamason who is coordinating the operation said the teams had been herding the whales into deeper water.

"The word coming back from down there is the whales are quite languid, they're not making any great effort to swim off and it's looking like we're probably going into another dry phase of looking after them as they restrand at the same location."

The whales being refloated on Monday. Photo: Supplied / Project Jonah
The whales being refloated on Monday. Photo: Supplied / Project Jonah
The teams have been clustering the whales in one group, gently rocking them and re-orienting them, and moving them to deeper water in the hopes they will swim off together.

"But it's not looking like that's going to play out," Lamason said.

"I don't think we're looking at any Hollywood ending here.

"The fact that they stayed in the same position overnight, they haven't really moved off, we've got to be realistic about it.

"As the hours go by the prognosis gets worse."

Farewell Spit has been a frequent site of whale strandings.

The last mass pilot whale stranding on Farewell Spit was in February 2017 when an estimated 600-700 whales were beached.

About 250 died while the rest were refloated

 

 

Advertisement

postanote_header_620_x_80.png

postanote_620_x_25.jpg

Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter