Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Six pilot whales have been euthanised by DOC staff following a stranding on Chatham Island this morning.

Date:  14 February 2022

The whales stranded near the town beach on Sunday night/Monday morning. Department of Conservation (DOC) Chathams Operations Manager Tryphena Cracknell says that about 70 whales were present initially, but most thankfully went back out to sea overnight.

“Whale strandings are not uncommon on the Chatham Islands, with the largest event recorded in 1918, when over 1000 animals died in a single stranding,” says Tryphena. “This is a small stranding by comparison, although still a solemn occasion.”

Hokotehi Moriori Trust and Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri Iwi Trust representatives were present and joined DOC staff to perform a karakii/karakia and karanga to honour and farewell the whales.

The whales have been measured and sampled by the DOC team and will be towed out to sea to decompose naturally when the tide rises.

DOC encourages anyone to report whale sightings and strandings, by calling the DOC hotline, 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).


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