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80 pilot whales beached in New Zealand, half are dead

By Kev Hedges     Sep 23, 2010 in Environment
A second mass beaching of whales in a month has occurred in New Zealand. This time 80 pilot whales have beached at Spirits Bay at the tip of New Zealand's North Island.
Around half are already dead and environmentalists fear more could die as other pilot whales come ashore to save them and end up beaching themselves.
Mark Simpson, of Project Jonah a marine protection charity said:
More whales are still coming in. Pilot whales have very strong social bonds and they try to help each other so more keep getting stuck.
Some of the weakest and dying whales have already been put down, reports Sky News, and conditions are so rough at the bay that vehicles are having to transport the poorly whales to another beach at Rarawa, an hour's drive away.
They are hoisted up by nets and placed on the back of trucks that are bedded with straw and hay. Conservation authorities have said that twenty five whales were dead when they arrived and another fifteen had died overnight. Local Maori tribesman have set up camp on the beach to look after them.
It was only last month that Digital Journal reported that only nine whales from a pod of 60 survived at Karikari Beach. Scientists continue to struggle with the reasons as to why these mammals beach themselves at all.
More about Pilot whales, New Zealand, Marine life
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