18 Jan 2014

More pilot whales stranded

9:11 pm on 18 January 2014

More whales have stranded at Farewell Spit at the top of the South Island, less than a week after a stranding in the same area.

The Department of Conservation (DoC) said 53 pilot whales beached on Saturday near Triangle Flat at the base of the Spit on Saturday and 13 died.

Then on Saturday afternoon, 68 of those same whales and others stranded again and seven died.

DoC rangers say in total there have been 81 whales involved in strandings on Farewell Spit on Saturday and a total of 20 of them have died.

The department said it will keep them covered and comfortable for the rest of the day and hopes a high tide due about 1am on Sunday will send them back out to sea.

Rangers will begin looking for the whales at first light on Sunday.

DoC Takaka conservation services manager John Mason said the whales are likely to be from the same pod seen off Taupata Point, south of Farewell Spit on 14 January. Thirteen of those whales stranded and either died or had to be euthanised.