Dozens of whales dead in latest New Zealand stranding

Rodiano Bonacci
Dicembre 2, 2018

Fifty-one pilot whales died Friday in a mass stranding in New Zealand, less than a week after 145 pilot whales and nine pygmy killer whales perished in two other unrelated strandings.

More than 50 pilot whales have died after beaching in New Zealand's Chatham Islands, only days after a massive stranding in the country's south.

When staff showed up at the beach this morning, they were relieved to find that about 30 or 40 of the whales had re-floated themselves without human intervention.

Nigel Ryan, who lives about 1 kilometre from where the whales were stranded, said the incident happened about 4.30pm on Thursday, Chatham Island time, which is 45 minutes ahead of standard New Zealand time.

As many as 145 pilot whales were discovered this past Saturday evening on a remote stretch of Stewart Island, off the coast of South Island, according to Charlotte Graham-McLay of the New York Times. The department says one beached whale remained alive, which they made a decision to euthanize due to its poor condition.

He said: "You're talking about strandings across the entire breadth of New Zealand in a very short period of time, which naturally does cause everyone to reflect on whether those might have something to do with one another".

"There was no likelihood of being able to successfully save the remaining whale", said DOC's Chatham Islands operations manager, Dave Carlton. "However, it's always a heart-breaking decision to make".

The reason whales and dolphins strand is not fully understood but factors can include sickness, navigational error, geographical features, the presence of predators and extreme weather.

And eight pygmy whales beached themselves on Ninety Mile Beach in Northland last Sunday.

Stockin, who is an expert consultant on strandings for the International Whaling Commission, said it added to a string of unusual whale behaviour over the past year.

Whale strandings are most common in New Zealand during the Southern Hemisphere spring and summer.

"We definitely have a spike in temperatures, that's likely affecting where the prey is moving and as a outcome we're seeing prey moving and (whale) species following".

Man-made causes, such as the sonar used by military vessels, have also been linked with the kinds of disorientation that can cause mass strandings.

"We certainly have the El Nino pattern in play, but the reality is I've no doubt it's been further exacerbated by the potential global warming effect", she said. "It's probably not anything to do with what humans have done", Ingram said.

"We're just going into stranding season now, this is only the beginning of it and we're very mindful of the fact that this a very busy start", she said.

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE