33 pilot whales die in Far North mass stranding

Source: 1News

Thirty-three pilot wales have died in a Far North mass stranding which took place on Saturday.

Department of Conservation and Te Aupōuri - along with support from Ngāti Kuri and Ngāi Takoto – worked to re-float 49 whales involved in a mass whale stranding off Parengarenga Harbour.

It comes after DOC’s Kaitaia team were alerted to a mass whale stranding involving the whales on Saturday, December 18, DOC said in a Facebook post on Monday afternoon.

“Unfortunately, 14 had died and an attempt was made to re-float the remaining whales at high-tide on Saturday, with responders staying on site and animal welfare being monitored by video link,” DOC said.

Sixteen pilot whales were successfully re-floated and ushered out of the harbour on Sunday, while a total of 33 whales died.

The dead whales were “blessed, measured, had samples taken and then interned”.

Late on Sunday, a boatie alerted marine mammal rescue group Project Jonah that the whales had returned to the harbour and 12 “were bleeding, as a cause of being chased and attacked by sharks”.

Two Te Aupōuri kaitiaki (guardians) returned to the beach to observe the situation.

DOC staff and Te Aupōuri kaitiaki completed a recon on Monday morning, and “no whales were sighted on the beach or harbour”.

“We would like to thank Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kuri and NgāiTakoto for their partnership in this event.”