Introduction

More than 100 pilot whales are dead after they stranded on an isolated beach at Mairangi, on the north east of Chatham Island late yesterday evening.

More than 100 pilot whales are dead after they stranded on an isolated beach at Mairangi, on the north east of Chatham Island late yesterday evening.

Chatham Islands Department of Conservation staff promptly visited the site to assess whether any of the estimated 102 whales could be saved. Unfortunately most were already dead and staff had no choice but to euthanase eight that were still alive, DOC Chathams Area manager Ken Hunt said.

“There was no chance of saving them because they’d been left high and dry by the outgoing tide.

Pilot whales stranded on an isolated beach, north eastern Chatham Islands. Photo: Ken Hunt.
Pilot whales stranded on an isolated
beach, north eastern Chatham Islands

“Whale strandings on the Chathams are not uncommon. However strandings of this size are unusual and in cases such as this, we’re often unable to help the whales.”
 
Representatives from iwi/imi conducted a karakia/karakii at the site this morning.

Chatham Islands Conservation Board chair Deborah Goomes, who is also a  representative of the Ngati Mutunga O Wharekauri Iwi Trust, said it was  “extremely sad” to see so many whales beached.

“It's a reminder of how nature impacts upon our community and our island. These occurrences are acknowledged and respected as part of our natural Chatham Island way of life."

Due to sea and tide conditions it has been difficult for DOC staff to obtain samples and measurements for research. The whales will be left to decompose naturally. ENDS

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