More than 100 beached whales die out of 200 stranded in New Zealand

Volunteers are keeping whales wet and cool by splashing water on them

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The Independent Online

At least 100 whales have died out of the 200 that are washed up on a beach in New Zealand.

Volunteers from the Project Jonah conservation group are working against the clock to save the rest of the mammals near Farewell Spit after more than half of them did not survive, the BBC reports.

 

The pilot whales are being doused in water to keep them cool and moist in the heat and some of the them were successfully refloated yesterday, the group said.

However attempts to get them away from the 7km stretch of beach and back into the sea are more likely to succeed during the high tide.

Even if the whales are refloated, that is no guarantee they would survive, Department of Conservation area manager Andrew Lamason said.

“We’ve had plenty times in the past where the pods have gone out to sea and turned around and come back again,” he said.

“We’re preparing for a big few days.”

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A Department of Conservation worker tends to a whale stranded on Farewell Spit

The community group is made up of 140 highly-trained volunteers, but Lamason said that more help may be needed today between 8am and 3pm local time to keep the whales wet and cool until the next high tide.

He had told 3 News the stranding was the biggest the Department has witnessed in at least ten years.

Last month, 36 whales died when a pod became stranded.

The mammals can lose their ability to navigate in shallow waters.

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