The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
145 Whales Dead After Mass Stranding on New Zealand Beach
As many as 145 pilot whales are dead after beaching themselves on a remote beach in Rakiura, or Stewart Island, in southern New Zealand.
A "heartbreaking decision" was made to put down half of the animals due to their poor condition and the difficult-to-access location, a Department of Conservation (DOC) official said Monday in a media release.
"Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low," DOC Rakiura Operations Manager Ren Leppens said in the media release. "The remote location, lack of nearby personnel and the whales' deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do was to euthanize."
Two pods stranded at the southern end of Mason Bay, approximately 1.2 miles apart.
Mass pilot whale stranding at Rakiura/Stewart Island www.youtube.com
The whales were discovered on Saturday afternoon by a hiker, The New York Times reported.
Leppens told the Times that the whales might have stranded as early as Friday. He said they "started to get covered in sand" by the time they were found on late Saturday.
Poor weather also meant that experts could not be flown in to assess the situation, so conservation workers had no choice but to euthanize the animals, he added to the newspaper.
This is the country's largest mass stranding event since 250 to 300 pilot whales were found dead last year in Golden Bay.
Marine mammal strandings are a "relatively common occurrence" in New Zealand, the DOC said, adding that it responds to roughly 85 incidents a year, mostly of single animals.
It's not clear why marine mammals such as dolphins and whales strand, but factors can include sickness, navigational error, geographical features, a rapidly falling tide, and being chased by a predator or extreme weather, the agency said.
Other strandings occurred on New Zealand shores over the weekend. Ten pygmy killer whales also stranded at 90 Mile Beach on Sunday. Two have since died and re-float attempts will be made Tuesday. A sperm whale beached in Doubtful Bay on Karikari Peninsula in Northland on Friday and died Saturday. Finally, a dead female pygmy sperm whale also washed up at Ohiwa over the weekend.
These events are unlikely to be related, the DOC said.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Editor's note: The coronavirus that started in Wuhan has sickened more than 4,000 people and killed at least 100 in China as of Jan. 27, 2020. Thailand and Hong Kong each have reported eight confirmed cases, and five people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the illness. People are hoping for a vaccine to slow the spread of the disease.
By Nancy Schimelpfening
- Nutrition experts say healthy eating is about making good choices most of the time.
- Treats like cookies can be eaten in moderation.
- Information like total calories, saturated fat, and added sugars can be used to compare which foods are relatively healthier.
- However, it's also important to savor and enjoy what you're eating so you don't feel deprived.
Yes, we know. Cookies aren't considered a "healthy" food by any stretch of the imagination.
When you see an actor in handcuffs, they're usually filming a movie. But when Jane Fonda, Ted Danson, Sally Field, and other celebrities were arrested in Washington, D.C., last fall, the only cameras rolling were from the news media.
As the Pacific Ocean becomes more acidic, Dungeness crabs, which live in coastal areas, are seeing their shells eaten away, according to a new study commissioned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).