Thirty-nine pilot whales are unable to saved after stranding on Farewell Spit overnight.
Golden Bay Conservation Services Manager John Mason said 27 of the whales were still alive this morning but DOC staff had made the difficult decision to euthanise them when it became clear an attempt to refloat them would be unlikely to succeed.
‘We carefully weighed up the likelihood of being able to refloat them and get them safely back out to sea. But our staff, who have extensive experience in dealing with mass whale strandings in Golden Bay, determined that due to various factors it was unlikely they could be rescued.
“The whales stranded about 5km from the base of Farewell Spit. They have come very high onto the beach in a big tide. The big tides are now reducing, coming in further out from shore, so it would be difficult to get the large animals into deep enough water to refloat them.
“Strong winds would also hamper any refloat attempt.
“Twelve of the whales have died and rather than prolong the suffering of the remaining 27 whales we decided to humanely euthanise them.”
DOC staff were alerted to the pod of long-finned pilot whales off Abel Tasman National Park yesterday and monitored them out of concern they might strand. Nothing could be done in darkness but staff looked for the whales this morning and found them stranded.