New Zealand rescuers save six stranded whales

Content image- Phnom Penh Post

Content image- Phnom Penh Post

New Zealand's Department of Conservation has released heartbreaking footage showing dozens of pilot whales sprawled helplessly in Mason Bay on the west coast of Stewart Island. The stranding was discovered by a hiker late Saturday on Stewart Island, 30 kilometres (19 miles) off the southern coast of the South Island.

"It's highly stressful for the whales, but they'll be using suitable padding to protect them", the marine conservation group member said.

"We wanted to remove the carcasses from the beach as they were very close to the Mallacoota township, the odour could have been very strong, and there are hazards associated with contacting carcasses", incident controller Stephen Young said.

The conservation department however suspects that the reason for the death of the whales was that the whales had been beached for an entire day without being noticed.

The condition of the two pilot whale carcasses suggested they had been dead for a while before being found, Orbost Incident Control Centre's Stephen Young said.

Shortly after 3pm local time today, the DoC reported: "The six remaining whales are approximately 400 yards off shore and swimming".

Two whales died before they could be rescued, two more rebeached themselves, but it was a more tragic story for 145 pilot whales at the other end of the country.

Conservationists drove eight of the rare and enigmatic whales across New Zealand to give them a better chance of surviving after they became stranded on the remote, windswept shoreline.

"Desperately we grabbed their tails and pushed and yelled, before we got hammered by them thrashing around".

The whales are on a beach only accessible by foot and the public are being advised to stay away from the area.

Officials have not yet given up hope on one of those incidents, a stranding on Sunday that left 10 pygmy killer whales washed ashore near New Zealand's northernmost tip.

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