Hundreds of whales wash up dead on New Zealand beach

WELLINGTON: More than 400 whales were stranded on a New Zealand beach on Friday (Feb 10), with hundreds already dead as volunteers tried to refloat the survivors, the Department of Conservation said.

Andrew Lamason, spokesman for the department, said it was one of the largest mass beachings recorded in New Zealand, where strandings are relatively common.

Lamason said 416 pilot whales beached themselves overnight at Farewell Spit in the Golden Bay region at the northern tip of South Island.

He said about 70 per cent had perished and attempts were underway to get the remaining whales offshore at high tide but the outlook was gloomy.

“With that number dead, you have to assume that the rest are in reasonably poor nick as well,” he told Radio New Zealand. “So we’re sort of preparing ourselves for a pretty traumatic period ahead.”

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