About 50 long-finned flying whales are stranded in shallow waters off the coast of New Zealand. More than 60 helpers fought for the survival of the animals on Monday, the agency responsible for nature conservation announced.
49 marine mammals were discovered that morning at the head of the Farewell Spit in the far north of the South Island. Nine of them died in the afternoon. The helpers tried to keep the remaining whales alive until high tide by keeping them cool and damp.
In the evening (local time), according to the information, the emergency services were able to return the remaining animals to the deep waters. The whales continued swimming near the coast. She added that many of the helpers have to spend the night at the beach, where the whales can enter the shallow waters again.
Why stranded marine mammals is unclear. For the group, it appeared to be the first time the animals had shown no scratches, Radio New Zealand reported, citing game head Amanda Harvey.
Long-finned pilot whales belong to the dolphin family. Dark mammals can reach eight meters in length.
There have been at least ten mass delinquencies at the head of the Farewell Spit in the past fifteen years. Most recently, about 700 whales were stranded there in February 2017, and 250 of them died.
Scientists are baffled as to why such fatal accidents continue to return to the tongue. According to one theory, the reason could be that the water is particularly shallow at this stage, disrupting the animals’ vital sonar.