Stranded pilot whales ready to ‘hit the road’
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
Introduction24 stranded pilot whales are close to beginning their journey by truck from Spirits Bay to Rarawa Beach in an attempt to give them a chance to be re-floated successfully later this afternoon.
Date: 24 September 2010
24 stranded pilot whales are close to beginning their journey by truck from Spirits Bay to Rarawa Beach in an attempt to give them a chance to be re-floated successfully later this afternoon.
Anton Van Helden, whale expert from Te Papa describes the move as ‘the largest transportation of whales to be attempted yet.’
“As far as I’m aware, this has not been tried before to this scale. It’s a huge undertaking and definitely contains risks for the whales, but is basically their only chance.”
With no change anticipated in weather conditions at Spirits Bay for the next few days, there is no option to refloat them at Spirits Bay. Rarawa Beach, 50km further south, has much calmer sea conditions and easy access for machinery and rescuers.
Although the whales have all made it through the night, one large whale is struggling a bit. Rescuers have had to hold him upright to prevent him rolling over.
6 whales have now been loaded onto trucks and trailers for their journey south. The operation is expected to take most of the day.
Around 80 DOC staff and 120 volunteers, including Project Jonah and Far North Whale Rescue, are involved. Requests for more volunteers for Rarawa Beach have been given. People need to ensure they have wetsuits, as they may need to be in the water with the whales for up to 3 or 4 hours. People who want to help need to be at Rarawa beach as soon as they are able, but definitely before 3pm.
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See previous media releases:
Daring land transfer exercise planned for stranded whales - 24 Sept 2010, 8.25am
Volunteers still sought for whale rescue effort in the Far North - 23 Sept 2010, 6.00pm
Rescue effort tackles logistics of saving stranded whales - 23 Sept 2010, 1.00pm
Day two for Spirits Bay whale rescuers - 23 Sept 2010, 9.40am
Another mass whale stranding in the Far North - 22 Sept 2010