About one hundred pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins have died in a mass stranding on the remote Chatham Islands, about 800 km (497 miles) off New Zealand’s east coast, officials stated on Wednesday.
Most of them have been stranded in the course of the weekend but rescue efforts have been hampered by the remote place of the island.
New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) stated in total 97 pilot whales and 3 dolphins died in the stranding, adding that they have been notified of the incident on Sunday.
“Only 26 of the whales were still alive at this point, the majority of them appearing very weak, and were euthanised due to the rough sea conditions and almost certainty of there being great white sharks in the water which are brought in by a stranding like this,” stated DOC Biodiversity Ranger Jemma Welch.
Mass strandings are reasonably typical on the Chatham Islands with up to 1,000 animals dying in a single stranding in 1918.
Mass whale strandings have occurred all through recorded modern day history, and why it occurs is a query that has puzzled marine biologists for years.
In late September, a number of hundred whales died in shallow waters off the Australian coast in a single of the world’s greatest mass whale strandings.