Auckland: At least 19 pilot whales died after a second stranding at a North Coromandel beach in New Zealand on Saturday, according to the Department of Conservation.
After hard work and struggling for the whole day, the rescuers and volunteers were able to refloat about 25 animals among the pod of about 40-50 pilot whales.
On Saturday night, five dead pilot whales were discovered at a site that was thought to be the original stranding location, the department said.
The next day, it was clear that 19 whales were stranded and eventually died on a rocky headland, as according to Stuff.
“The high tide at about 9 pm on Saturday night had allowed the stranded whales to be refloated, members of the pod restranded this morning – including several on rocky outcrops at the bay,” the Department said in a statement on its Facebook account.
“Sadly, about a dozen have died after restranding on the rocks this morning.
However, we are encouraged by the fact the majority of the stranded whales have re-joined the pod this morning and have been chaperoned out to deep water,” it added.
Daren Grover, general manager of rescue group Project Jonah, said that the whales were split from their main pod.
He said, “it’s not the outcome we always hope for. It’s sad that they did strand and die,” was quoted as saying by Mirror.
The volunteers also said that they were planning to position the boats as a barrier in a bid to steer the whales away from the shore.
The actions were taken much later because almost 400 whales were died by that time. It is understood to be Australia’s largest stranding on record.
It is still unknown why the whales had become stranded, but it is known that the species is prone to get beached.
One of the largest strandings which was recorded globally holds a national record of 320 occurred in western Australia during 1996.