Mass stranding: 145 whales dead in New Zealand

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There were actually two pods of beached whales found Saturday night by a camper in the area. A helicopter crew captured film for New Zealand's Department of Conservation showing the extent of the huge beaching event being which is being investigated by scientists. The remote location and lack of nearby personnel meant successfully refloating the whales was highly unlikely.

The vision shows some of up to 145 whales which were found in two pods, either dead or later euthanised. He said the decision was heartbreaking.

More than 300 pilot whales died in 2017 after they were stranded on a beach on the northern tip of New Zealand's South Island.

The DOC worked with the local Maori tribe on the next steps-they bury the remains of beached whales according to their traditions.

Sickness, navigational error, geographical features, a rapidly falling tide, being chased by a predator, or extreme weather are thought to be among the reasons for whale and dolphin strandings, DOC said.

Niwa cetacean biologist Dr Krista Hupman said New Zealand had one of the highest number of strandings in the world, but also the highest rescue success rate.

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Whale strandings are relatively common in New Zealand and authorities deal with about 85 each year, although most are small.

The largest recorded stranding of pilot whales was back in 1918, when over 1,000 were trapped on the shores of the remote Chatham Islands, which lie 500 miles due east of New Zealand in the south pacific ocean.

In an unrelated event, 12 pygmy killer whales were discovered stranded Sunday at Ninety Mile Beach on the North Island, nonprofit organization Project Jonah New Zealand said in a Facebook post. Department official Ren Leppens said that half of the animals were already dead when they were found.

The whales were in a miserable condition, and there were not enough resources to try and re-float what was left of the two pods, so it was made a decision to put them down, Leppens said.

Two have since died while efforts are being made to re-float the remaining eight, CNN reported.

It was the second stranding in the Far North in three days after a 15m sperm whale died on Tokeroa Beach on Saturday, after washing ashore on Friday.