Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New Zealand rescuers save stranded whales



New Zealand rescuers save stranded whales

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Up to 145 pilot whales were found stranded on Saturday a remote part of a small New Zealand island, authorities say. Half were already dead and the rest were put down. NEW ZEALAND DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION/AFP

New Zealand rescuers save stranded whales

Six beached whales were successfully refloated off New Zealand on Tuesday, rescuers said, after a spate of mass strandings in recent days that resulted in the deaths of dozens of marine mammals.

Wildlife rangers and volunteers used pontoons to float the killer pygmy whales – part of a group of 12 found beached in the country’s far north on Sunday – and take them about 400m offshore.

“We are hopeful that the six whales that have been refloated will remain at sea,” the Department of Conservation (DOC) department said in a statement, adding that another two whales were euthanised after continually restranding.

Two of the pod were already dead, and two more died after being found by rescuers on the North Island’s west coast, with the remaining eight transported by truck to the east coast on Monday, where sea conditions were calmer.

The survival of even part of the pod was a rare success for DOC as it struggled to deal with four separate strandings in quick succession, including a sperm whale and a pygmy sperm whale in separate incidents on the North Island coast.

By far the largest was when up to 145 pilot whales were found late on Saturday washed up on Stewart Island, 30km off the southern coast of the South Island.

Half the animals were already dead and the rest were put down because there was no chance of rescuing them from the remote location US travel blogger Liz Carlson was among a group of hikers on Stewart Island that found the whales and she described her frustration at being unable to help the huge sea creatures.

“When we realised the horror of what we were seeing, we dropped everything and ran straight into the water,” she posted on social media.

“Desperately we grabbed their tails and pushed and yelled, before we got hammered by them thrashing around.

“It was useless – they were so big and heavy and the realisation we could do nothing to save them was the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced.”

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.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the