RRescue efforts have been hampered by dangerous sea conditions, leading to tragically nearly 40 dead pilot dolphins on a remote New Zealand beach.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) and wildlife rescue organization Jonah Project decided to bring down the 12 remaining whales on Thursday after they could not get them to float.
At the Okuru River mouth, west of Christchurch, 38 whales came to a stop on Wednesday afternoon due to severe tidal currents.
Although the exact cause of the whales’ stranding is unknown, researchers believe currents may be to blame.
Daren Grover, the general manager of the Jonah Project, told Stuff. The tides and currents can sweep them out as they go closer to shore, and they may also have to run away from predators like orcas.
Another scenario, according to him, is that a family unit is keeping an eye on a whale that is ill or damaged because of its herding tendencies.
The DOC stated that operating a boat without posing a serious risk to both people and whales is “impossible” because of hazardous water conditions.
“Whale keepers have done everything they can to keep them comfortable by positioning them upright, chilling them, and shielding them from the sun and wind,” the DOC continued.
‘This is a sad outcome.’
At the mouth of the Okuru River on Wednesday, 32 pilot whales were discovered stranded in the sand. When they were discovered, the whales appeared to have been there for roughly 12 hours.
The DOC team arrived back the following morning to discover that the gathering had expanded to 38 people, 26 of whom were deceased. The other 12 whales have undergone “humane embellishment.”
Last month, more than 150 pilot whales washed ashore on a beach in Western Australia. Some of them were later hauled back into the water by crane. Experts think that at the time, a family member who was ill was being watched by a family member near the shore.