Nearly 500 whales die in New Zealand mass strandings
Driving the news: The whales were stranded on two beaches on New Zealand's remote Chatham Islands. The first group of 232 pilot whales came ashore on Friday, followed by a second group of 245 whales on Monday, according to a Facebook post by the nonprofit Project Jonah New Zealand, which rescues marine mammals.
- While some of the whales were dead on arrival, the others were euthanized to minimize suffering, the DOC said in its press release.
- "We do not actively refloat whales on the Chatham Islands due to the risk of shark attack to humans and the whales themselves, so euthanasia was the kindest option," Dave Lundquist, a technical adviser marine for the DOC, said in the press release.
The big picture: "This is one of the larger events for mass strandings in New Zealand. While we experience large mass strandings at Farewell Spit, these events average 70-80 whales," Project Jonah said in its post.
- The mass strandings in New Zealand come just weeks after roughly 200 pilot whales died in Australia after stranding themselves on a Tasmanian beach.