The Department of Conservation (DOC) responded to the killer whale stranding at Blue Cliffs beach near Tuatapere in Southland in the early hours of this morning.
DOC can confirm that all of the animals were identified as orca or killer whales. There were nine animals in total - eight adults and one juvenile.
All of the animals died at the scene and DOC recovered some DNA samples and the carcass of one animal for necropsy.
The stranding is unfortunate and will have an impact on the national population which is around 200 animals.
We don’t know why the animals stranded but this offers an opportunity to collect as much data as possible to help learn more about the species.
DOC is yet to confirm details of a possible recovery and/or burial of the animals at the site as it is an offence to remove any part of the whales from the beach.
Deceased killer whales at Blue Cliffs beach